How to Be Urgent with the Tactic and Patient with the Strategy

I attended a “Jamie Clarke” keynote earlier this year and was struck by a number of things he said and how they apply to business.

Clarke is a fellow Calgarian who has summited Mt. Everest twice, climbed the Seven Summits, written a few books, and is the CEO of Live Out There Ltd. He was a very engaging speaker with a ton of life experience and wisdom.

Of the topics he covered in his keynote, there was one statement he made that every business leader needs to practice:

“Be urgent with the tactic and patient with the strategy”

It is really easy to get stuck on one side of this equation and forget about the other. Some people gravitate towards tactics and are always busy but never really “move the ball forward.” Other people are so focused on creating a legendary strategy that they don’t get anything practical done!

About 10 years ago, my son and I decided to build a remote-controlled submarine. We talked through some ideas, drew up a few conceptual plans but never really had a solid strategy in place before we went a bought a bunch of parts from Lowes. Once we had the parts, we went into full-on build mode.

We had a ton of fun while we created an amazing submarine prototype that ended up having so much buoyancy it probably could have floated a full-sized car! We were too focused on tactics and should have stepped back and built a solid design strategy!

In the end, after a lot of discussion and some quick Google searches, we discovered it was way cheaper to just buy a remote-controlled submarine online. However, we still have yards of white PVC pipe glued together somewhere in the shed as a reminder of our glaring failure!

We often hear that execution eats strategy for breakfast or that action without strategy pointless . . . So what is the answer?

Blue Ocean Shift

Beyond Competing - Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth

The book review for this week is Blue Ocean Shift Beyond Competing by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.

Blue Ocean Shift is the second book in the “Blue Ocean journey” for Kim and Mauborgne. Here they expand on the concepts defined and outlined in Blue Ocean Strategy published in 2005. It is easy to see that the authors have been busy with research, consulting and projects since then! This book has updated tools, concepts and compelling case studies. Entire countries have got on board and kicked off Blue Ocean initiatives (Malaysia’s National Blue Ocean Shift Summit)!

My takeaway from this book is the Blue Ocean shift diagram (below) and the understanding behind it. Each business leader must continuously strategize on how to move into or stay in a Blue Ocean market. This is a daunting task and takes significant effort, creative thought, innovation, wisdom, and action. However, the alternative, the Red Ocean of cut throat competition, MUST be avoided to avoid the slip into becoming a Red Ocean commodity!

The Critical Importance of Principles in Business

One of the most important things any business leader can do for their business longevity, is to establish the principles by which they and their business will operate.

These principles form the foundation on which trust and relationships are built with all of the stakeholders of the business; shareholders, employees, customers, and suppliers.

Berkshire Hathaway is an example of a highly successful business from pretty much all perspectives. They are a solid company with decades of successful and profitable operations.

In 1983, Warren Buffett established 13 principles that defined how Berkshire Hathaway was to operate. He first published these in what he called Berkshire’s “An Owner’s Manual.” These 13 ideologies are still valid today at Berkshire and followed closely in all the business that they conduct.

Many of these are directly applicable to any business. We can all benefit from reviewing them and perhaps implementing them in our own businesses!

Berkshire’s “An Owners Manual”

I have highlighted seven of the thirteen principles below:

Why “Excellence” is the Next Five Minutes

Is “excellence” a word that would describe everything you or your business does or produces? If not, you are in danger of becoming a commodity, being stuck in the race to the bottom, and going extinct!

In fact, Tom Peters, in his new book The Excellence Dividend, believes that a mindset of excellence is the antidote to job automation and product “Commodityville”.

Early in my career there was an incident in our office when one of the junior engineers handed a proposal to his manager for a final review before sending the proposal to the customer. The manager basically came unglued and ripped apart the junior engineer after he found a spelling mistake . . . in the client’s name!

Friend of a Friend

Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career

The book review for this week is Friend of a Friend by David Burkus.

Burkus takes the reader through the myths, science, and art of networking. He uses research and studies backed up by solid anecdotal evidence to come to his conclusions. His underlying premise is that: “we are not growing or creating a network . . . we already exist inside of a network.” The people that succeed are those who recognize this and learn to see and navigate their network the best. We can then supercharge our network by bridging the gap between multiple groups or networks of people who don’t generally connect.

My takeaway from this book is that the most successful individuals oscillate between working with a variety of teams and acting as a bridge between their primary team or elsewhere in the organization or network. Finally, remember that “YOUR FRIEND OF A FRIEND IS YOUR FUTURE!”