Tag Archives: Fundamental

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12 Apr

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Unearthing Traditional Thinking on Strategic Alignment

8 Apr

If you slice and dice any strategy; then it just becomes a planned “fruit salad”

We need structures and functions to be sterile. Over segmentation and the division of the organisation into more or less autonomous strategic business units, that specialise, and start doing things that are not traditionally their function, with the duplication of functions and elements of strategy are never wise; it’s a recipe for sure disaster.

Where one department also share the next department’s functions, when nonetheless, they both have dissimilar core functions; for instance, where finance and HR – Human Resources – want to both share the final authority to approve leave for instance…then we have successfully created potential conflict. We see and have many such instances in business today, why?

I am sure we have heard it before, and with good reason, it’s the truth, a fact of life. That “Apples belong with Apples”, and then “Pears with Pears”, then fruit with fruit and meat with meat; so the structure stays healthy. Like with like.

Even in nature, we don’t get one tree brining forth several varieties of fruit, and a lamb will never give you pork chops, and beef fillets when slaughtered.

No its one tree with one type of fruit only. Order in all things must prevail, it is the first rule of nature, and then, then we see balance prevail, when rules triumph. Only humans have disturbed this natural order of things, subliminally we have an in bread tendency to do it, daily. How does this become relevant to strategy you may ask? It is logic! You think? Then why do we find so much chaos all over. Again, it is a contest of our will, and our minds competing – logic and reason.

Well the point I want to drive home here today is this; Duplication is waist, and always bottlenecks enterprise at some point. We get many examples of misalignments, overlapping, and diversification…of business functions, we need to gauge the impact and results of all these aspects of doing “business unusual”,  to see if it is good business practice, best practice, or just plain smart or not?

If not, then we need to re-think our “logic”. The same principle applies with all things strategically relevant, that need to comply with logic, and reason, then natural laws;

1)You must decide what you want from your strategy and be very specific with the results expected; then only will you be able to move to;

  • When you want it, how you want it, and how much of it you want, specifics is key to getting some required detail, to create order with, that sprouts required balance, in structuring events and elements of strategy

2)Your mind can only think critical if we deal with one aspect at a time

  • We need to see it in order to have it done; same with functions, if all things reside with one person, or department, then we have created order, then follows structure and it results in balance. Then we know with a certainty who, what, where, when, and how…

3)Don’t waver; a woman is never half pregnant, she is or she’s not, we are either going for it flat out, or not at all…

  • You must do things with conviction; half hearted effort does not boil the food well, like true passion will boil it over. Don’t have disproportionate efforts dealing with aspects, proportionality in all things, equates to balance again. Slicing ad dicing department functions into smaller or different entities, only assist with weakening efficiency…never a good idea.

4)Persistence is the best weapon against stagnation; there is nothing that beats the persistent person and his effort on earth, no rock to hard, no mountain to high, no ocean to wide, no wind to strong, nothing…

  • Make sure you have the right man with the right tool for the job…directing.

5)Be results driven; win small battles, on your way towards winning the bigger wars, to have a successful overall campaign.

  • You cannot manage that which you cannot measure; strategy is all about measures, when segmented and divorced from its normal flow it becomes a fruit salad, a mix of things undistinguishable. Strategy requires differentiation and distinction, we need to be able to say, hay the “banana” has gone rotten, replace… etc. Not possible when you only see fruit salad.

The resolution is taking this avenue;

With “Strategic Targeting” we try to find and identify those things that blur and block our aim, and thus our reality. When we need to see clearly; it is the mental process of – Identify, Clarify, Quantify and defining of our objectives and goals first. We cannot do this if we cannot differentiate or measure what we want, have, etc. Always Identify, Clarify, Quantify for ourselves first, and then start pointing the way for others, with this knowledge. Without strategic targeting to keep us on aim, we tend to want to specialise, then segment and over “divisionallise” to our own detriment.

“Only fools rush in and then onward” on a hunch that is – once again, only when strategic parts stay and remain clear, visible, can we see when they fail, and where.

Clearly understood instructions, and expectations when seeking for solution, come from having set directives to follow. Then we won’t find haphazard management that creates specialisation, and diversification, to stick plasters on soars, cuts and burses, of the organisation due to its misalignment with its strategic intent. By staying true to the requirements of its core function.

Progress is only possible, and felt at the service levels, when we follow clear guidelines and protocol. When our work functions are not segregated or dispersed across many tiers and business functions of the structure, and business units.  Solutions become clear; only when we have a transparent and totally accountable person, people, unit, division, or department as a concept to work with.

The concept must be fully encompassing, and be a total solution. The collective envisions the contemplated solution against; what we know now, or have assumed, and have to work with, vs. who, where, what, when, and how this will solve the problem – and “who” will be responsible.

Only then; will planning become specific and directed – because initiative flows again. Only; when we know who to blame, and then also who to compliment, will we know we have structure that works, and unites people with their work and responsibility. If there is; no direct responsibility, then you will find no discipline, no order, no accountability, no structure ,and then no balance…lots of NO;s just because of one misalignment, take care.

It’s not always about efficiency, but also effectiveness – working hard towards that which is becoming significant – and worthy of our effort and time spent – only then does planning become a useful exercise if it connects its burden with people, to make it their business.

Here at this point, when we see and recognise that strategy has duality – two sides of a coin exiting as one entity. One part peoples things and thinking, and the other part systems and structure that need to unite.

Only if we stay close to this knowledge; then will we create opportunities to make our competition irrelevant…at some point.

Now – Read the book or Ebook; Read more in my new book Strategic Management, The Radical Revolutionary Strategic Management Matrix for Predators by Reinier Geel, now available at Trafford; http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=339320

The Fundamental Principles of Revolutionary Business Strategy

28 Mar

Predator Strategy; Part 1(revised)


It’s all about THINKING…

Firstly, Predators lead and direct people by evoking thinking. They are not mindless, they are critical and informed people, and it is this kind of thinking that is influenced, informed, and guided by Principles.

Principles are generally understood as being concepts that open themselves up to the interpreter’s attribution; in other words; whoever uses principles applies his mind as to what these attributes should be. Which attributes will inform the user’s perspective that will make up a desired concept that will realize these principles and give them their intended meaning.

Perception; is also a bias, something that counters the effect of thinking. We need to be guard against it. A perception requires four (4) attributes minimum before it gets meaning; the concept Wasp; for instance requires 4 attributes to make it a concept;

  1. Wings
  2. Black and yellow striped body
  3. Six legs
  4. Sting

However, this could very well also have been a description of a bee?

Strategic principles should not be designed or used where it could imply more than one thing, it needs to be spot on; however, when in doubt use acronyms like; QQQI = Question, Quantify, Qualify and then you will Identify also needs to be taught alongside of principles to enhance their usefulness and effect;

These mental actions we experience will then evoke as a result clarity, we seek clarity to get meaning, and understanding.  NLP  or – Nero linguistic programming could be used to teach people principles, or just by institutionalizing them, (getting them into circulation by using them) until they become a term generally used – I.E a principle called “quick wins” for instance. Implies that we need to win things and quickly.

Well at least that’s on the surface of it. The deeper meaning to those that use it implies that we should focus NARROW; remove all the distractions, unite all our effort and pool our resources jointly, to perform one specific task as a collective, and then we can get back to our own work and projects. This is how they then rally their people, during crisis. If someone shouts we need a “quick win” here! Then everyone drops what they are doing and focus on the crisis at hand. The GROUP understands that “quick wins” are mission critical to the overall process, vision, and mission, or essential towards having the streamlining of processes…They understand that one great effort could turn the tide in no time at all, where several smaller actions would have else wise failed a the same task. They realize THAT UNITY BUILDS STRENGTH.

When these principles start developing, then they get a character of their own as they get formed, duplicated, used, and institutionalized.  They become meaningful; they add value, and when generally used, with acronyms, they start implying the same thing to many – that will be generally understood by all in the group when used consistently.

The name of the game is Concept thinking; that should translates back into Critical thinking, which then becomes principle thinking, this is the predator thinking cycle;

Most People think with patterns; that rely on CONCEPTs to create and validate these patterns, in order to make sense of them; then they look deeper at ATTRIBUTES, to inform them of a detailed mental image of a perceived reality…

Concepts if validated, should question our own assumptions, so that we may align or distance our selves; they interrogate our prioritization, and judgment. They inform and form patters that others can follow, build on, and subtract from. To become predators in their own right.

Predators are:

Economic; they don’t waist anything; strive at all cost to eliminate waist.

Vigilant; totally aware of their surroundings

Communicative; they keep in contact, and communicate with battle language.

Cooperative; they work together as family units

Maneuverable and agile; They know the art of maneuverability

Faithfull; They understand the value, of values and discipline, and believe in security

Refined; they believe in simplifying skills through refinement.

Some strategists assert that adhering to these fundamental principles always guarantees victory, while others claim business is also War, just on another front, and therefore it is also just too unpredictable, to be prescribed to with a precise certainty.  Leaders must be flexible in formulating a strategy. Strategy today should be seen as layers of strategy and tactics, and not just one seamless plan from start to finish, rather a MATRIX of strategic relevance connecting.  Forming the strategic time spiral continuum requires principles. Those Principles deliver strategy; they assist us in joining yesterday wisdom with today’s knowledge. Strategy starts with that first step, today, and no longer just medium and long term, where we will only see the results five years from now. These are principles of planning. Time honored and tested, they too, need to change.

Only when we start narrowing our vision down to concepts, that relate back to principles, to become our “envision”. Only then we will see results in step, as it unfolds, daily, and realize that we need to keep focusing on our core business with strategy first, before will succeed medium and long term. For if our principles and concepts and acronyms; our constitution is strong; then the core is strong, then the “flesh and skin” will have a proper framework to function on. These principles we follow and develop today will determine if we will be here tomorrow to teach them…

The Fundamental Principles of Business Predator Strategy;

Part 2

It’s an Attitude

It’s a way of life…

Only once we realize that Strategy as a science does not function in a silo anymore, that it is connected to everything in business, life that has become an attitude, a way of life. That, it influences how we will be living, today, tomorrow, and even ten years from now…living with or without our principles. Then One aspect starts to surface that guides this notion, and connection; we call it living, thinking, and working with principles.

Principle guided people act in unity; like a swarm of angry wasps on the war path; these underlying principles of strategy unify effort, in simplistic terms, by just following a principle, it informs us, and guides our thoughts and actions, in a unified manner. As a result of following principles, we then see philosophies and doctrines emerge; because of following structured thought, we have survived relatively unscathed through the ages because of this aspect. Some attribute it to religions, some customs, so too the terminology; referring to these principles of following principles, have changed in interpretation, as they have become entrenched in societies fibers.

“Sound” Principles followed, creates a grater awareness of the importance of concepts that were created during actual War, that have become a method of warfare. Derived from studying predators in their natural environment, and then also applying some of these actions and laws of nature itself…and observing and studying how predators act and react, have greatly aided our own advances. From this we have been able to derive some strategic principles for ourselves like;

  1. Reaching the Objective; sometimes at all costs; even death for some was not unconceivable as a fait, yet they still went and died for the cause, if it is deemed important and worthwhile, if the clan stands to benefit greatly…, then people will even give up their lives for what they believe in, because of a belief in principles.
  2. Going on the Offense with all they have…one fist strikes a much harder blow, than what many fingers will.
  3. Cementing unity, and co-operation by following one doctrine; self sacrifice
  4. The biggest Concentration of power always overpowers, when (Central Mass) is directed at the main objective – when focused narrowly – we have better and faster results.
  5. Economy of force; when we only use as much as what is necessary,  and nothing more, we eliminate waste at all cost
  6. Maneuvering is a way of attacking; or escaping and evading the opponents; it serves multiple roles, but requires only one skill…
  7. Surprise is paramount to success; shock and awe; if you decide to act, act swiftly and decisively like thunder and lightning;
  8. Security; hide your strengths and weakness, so that others may show their hand first then plan and act…
  9. Strive for Simplicity in all things;

How do we even begin to translate all these aspects of following principles into our fast moving global technology driven and booming chaotic environment?

First we need to see where cause and effect starts playing a role, in relation to all we do and expect. We need to start seeing the bigger picture, even global, of how we impact, and leave footprints. For instance, when the larger amount of industries and business in most under developed and developing countries are still having out of date systems, technologies, and infrastructure. How will the technology gap ever be closed, ever, we will just become more and more segmented business societies, functioning along our own terms, and principles.

With effect immediately things are changing fast, you have been given notice.  We will have divergent markets emerging, and much more polarising because of this aspect; dissimilar strategies cause chaos; it’s a fact, no amount of green activists, policy and government intervention will close these gaps, through which all our problems are running, especially when they get mixed up in one habitat, and have to compete for survival, not even market share anymore. The rules and the face of the game are changing.  So too the principles of supply and demand, as well as cause and effect, just too much to pin down. With currencies fluctuating, countries struggling in their own overdrawn debt, some will perish some will grow. Producers will become buyers, and buyers will become producers. This world, with all its divergent economies, and technologies; will cause turmoil, and it has, but there is much more to come. Just judging by the global mood and weather lately we are in the run up to some major events in history.

The question is whose technology will survive, and which markets will become sustainable.

  • We need to empower, and recognized the increasing need to delegate control to subordinates and to issue directives rather than specific orders. As a strategist our principles and belief in the need for flexibility and constant renewal and change need to be developed, we need to realize that fluidity and control impact, the one on the other, too little control and the things runs away, too much and it freezes up. Balance is always required. It has become essential, and we have to realize that strategy and planning is never done, that no plan, no matter how comprehensive, or however well prepared, can be a sole guaranteed to success, way beyond the first year of its existence, it will become a “mindless: document.
  • Demonstrating the flaws of a mindless “strategy, where we set the plan and never alter or tune it as it progresses, it needs to stay current. Strategy is never done, until it’s done right, and completed. It becomes mindless, or useless beyond a certain point, if not tuned constantly. Quick changes need to be monitored, and anticipated; with Technological changes as one such aspect, that have had both an enormous effect on strategy, and still it has very little effect on leadership, a total contradictions in the logic of strategy – a conundrum. One would have hoped that technology would have bettered us as managers, well the truth is, very few have benefitted. In the whole it has not.
  • Energy is yet another aspect, it is fast becoming a global question mark, if all markets become only technology driven and operated, and requires advanced energy resources, and will we have enough? Only those with the right amount of technology and infrastructure will survive, the effects of technology itself, the rest will be at their mercy.

Strategic Predators know and understand these aspects mention above all too well, and furthermore that not even vigilance is a total failsafe for tragedy looming either. What they have learnt is this; that they need to stay on top of things daily; have a finger on the pulse, and feel the heart of the organisation beating. As well as keep track of external influence, and developments both locally and globally, they need to keep studying and observing this new “animal” in its natural environment, and start forming new principles that will inform and direct them, as to what the next best course of action will be to counter or advance.  We learned valuable lessons in the past in this fashion, we got to know our strengths and weaknesses well, and these lessons need to be learnt fast; and be taught even faster. Even after the global recession, we are still not mitigating enough should we have same situation reoccurring soon, in the next few years, what do we have in place, if anything? Again it’s all about changing paradigms, and principles that will influence concepts and attributes.  Until we start realising that all things are truly related, and changing, we will suffer.

You cannot hunt and kill all day – and just want to make money/ business and do nothing else. When in fact nature has a law against that;  it states that “you may only hunt what you can eat”. Then we are in contravention with Nature, and its laws; All aspects of life and living today gets impacted on globally, locally, naturally, spiritually, emotionally, in all our dimensions of existence, and the list goes on…do we have the right principles to cope with all these aspects? And most importantly, are we following them…?

Sound principles have always been referred to as the tried and tested variety, the here all and end all, is this still what we need? When what we see is less; everything seems to be disintegrating. That these principles of work hard work all day and be productive has only caused us stress, and international chaos. We seem to forget, that by nature man is in fact a predator; a lazy thing…we were designed to hunt, eat, sleep, and multiply. Now we only hunt, and eat…all the wrong diets, sleep very seldom and not nearly enough, and multiply our debt… so that we can have some more things to worry about.

Not to speak of society’s ills; we have more Wars now than ever before, more political unrest and social decay, as well as ethnic unrest, not to mention the very noticeable effects of global warming, and resulting nuclear threats. Acid rain, sulphuric mine ground water…polluting our drinking water, the world is changing so fast, that the speed of change has become blinding.

We have lost grip with the totality of our total reality – the reason for our existence is eluding us it seems. We are still focused broadly, only on things of material nature seem to matter now, and to us only, they too will become futile endeavours in just two, too five years from now. Neither have, or will we be vigilant as thinkers, politicians and strategist, not to mention leaders, if we don’t audit our principles for business, health, life, living…in general a total audit is required.

Are we soon to become extinct due to our overzealous expansive strategic predator behaviour, and ideologies?

Nothing is sacred anymore, just the pursuit of wealth creation…and war and ill discipline have become a norm.

What good will it do when we cannot follow natural laws any more, as nothing natural will exist if we carry on like predators, gone all out of control ?

We have to act accountable with our strategies, so too all business people today, or we won’t need to plan much for any tomorrows anymore, because soon there will be none. We need “quick wins” in each strategy, built in to restore the balance we have disturbed; and will be disrupting; we need to take ownership and stop looking at governments to turn the tide…

We need more people driving counter acting strategies; acting like counter weights, for what we break, and take, as a race, we must repair and replace.

We need to follow this principle to give us a sense of security in our future, we need to get back to basics, simplify, we need help, a natural order and balance restored, lots of foresight and guidance and most importantly sober international leadership… Because, all predators know how to do well is KILL. We need to teach the old dog some new tricks…

It’s acting true to its nature! Therefore so to man; we need some quick wins for our planet!!! Be a winner and start some “quick wins” not just for the business strategy but for the planet.

The new age of strategic revolution requires vigilant, radical and revolutionary predators, to emerge and stop the out of control ones from destroying our lively hood, for only predators can and have the ability to hunt and stop other predators from hunting excessively. The balance between supply and demand in the natural sense needs to be repaired.

Now – Read the book or Ebook; Read more in my new book Strategic Management, The Radical Revolutionary Strategic Management Matrix for Predators by Reinier Geel, now available at Trafford;http://www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=339320

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