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 Business Blockchain

Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology

This week’s book review is The Business Blockchain by William Mougayar.

Although this is not an easy read, Mougayar does an excellent job of explaining the blockchain and how it is positioned to fundamentally change the way we do business. These fundamental business changes will radically impact society. The blockchain is positioned to transform any transaction or interaction requiring any level of trust. This includes; financial transactions, contract verifications, private records storage and sharing, contractual work completed, identity verification, title ownership, etc..

My takeaway from this book is that the impact Blockchain will have on our world is unknown at this point. Trying to understand the impact it will have is like someone in 1990 trying to predict the impact that the Internet would make and how things would look in 2010.

My best guess is that the Blockchain technology will evolve (like the Internet and world wide web did) and it will look quite different in 10 years from what it looks now. However, business leaders must stay abreast of the technology changes and ensure that we are leveraging them so we are riding the technology wave and not crushed by it!

The Four

The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

This week’s book summary is The Four by Scott Galloway.

Although I may not completely agree with Galloway’s perspective in this book, he provides a combination of solid research and cynical humor to paint a picture of how a few companies are reinventing the world as we know it. His detailed study of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google show how these massive companies were formed, the market spaces they created, and the incredible societal and business impacts they have made and are making.

My takeaway from this book is Galloway’s “T Algorithm” which is his definition of the factors needed for a business to rise up and compete against The Four. The eight factors are:

Can You Complete the 15 Minute Business Challenge?

If you cannot write out the plan for where you are taking your business in 15 minutes or less, chances are, you do not have a plan!

If you don’t have a plan then you and your business are just floating through time and you are at the whim of the marketplace and all of your competitors! Basically, if you cannot articulate what you are building or why you are building it then how do you know what you are doing or where you are going?

For those that regularly read my posts, you know that Thinking Business has a very detailed business blueprint that you can download (from our Business Tools) and apply to your business. We call it the Thinking Business Blueprint. It takes you through all aspects of your business to ensure that your business model and strategy are defined clearly at all levels.

However, I was recently challenged by a client to come up with a simple, high level, tool that would allow a business leader to summarize their business and their strategy in one simple page. This one-page tool must be simple to implement yet powerful enough to capture the very essence of an organization. A leader must then be able to take the completed tool and easily communicate it to any and all of it’s stakeholders.

To meet this challenge, I have come up with the “15 Minute” Business Blueprint described below.