Tag Archives: systems

The Biggest problem with corporate strategy is trying to predict the future and to “dictate the marketplace.”!!!

21 Oct

Almost all strategic planning sessions start off with the vision, mission, goals, values, and objectives scenario – yes? This begs the question, how good is our track record for predicting the future – I bet it’s pretty bad?

Maybe it’s time to become radical, and to totally change our strategic start up design perspective. If I tell you that there is a far better way to hit the bull, more often than not would you be interested?

Would you consider yet another reality; May I change that perspective, and let’s see if that is still all true.

(My theory is if we change our perspective and not just our perceptions, we will get a much better look at the real problem, and the way we look at things, then creates scenarios in the brain, that keeps changing with the new perspective).

Because if we only believe we can’t predict the future with much certainty then we won’t bother planning it in much detail, will we? Safe to say; No one can predict with up-most certainty anything that is in the future, let alone what will happen next week…

Nevertheless, forecasting is of the up-most importance in business.

Therefore, strategist, and forecaster alike need to probe beyond that curtain of uncertainty, and predict what the eventuality could/ would be like if we stay, start the course with our current strategy.

(The academics teach us to apply the laws of averages here, to find the average, and then to summarise risk, and come up with a worst case, average and best case scenario.)

Now days we see a change, away from that norm, towards looking at broad spectrum analyse of strategic challenges – by firstly looking at both internal (environment) as well as external (environment) and scanning it for defects, and misplaced links, between structure and strategy…, translating into emergent strategy; There are two approaches to strategy making – a deliberate or emergent strategy. The deliberate strategy is analytical and structured – Vision Statement, Mission Statements, Strengths and Weaknesses (SWOT), Objectives etc.

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We are still not getting the basics of strategy right, are we?

14 Oct

We need to do this strategic, we have a strategy, and it’s our strategy… You hear about it all the time. Executives like to say “strategy” this “strategy“ that, we hear it a lot, then it sounds big, complicated and even important.

When in fact it is far from it…strategy is not always complicated

Strategy in itself – at the basic level – is very simple actually; it’s dealing with the details that can make it seem complicated.

We seem to get stuck in the details of the scheme mostly, and not really in strategy making itself.

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Business formation is changing the way we see Strategy, Management, and Leadership roles and function…

31 Jul

“It is all changing so fast” – just look at the way we communicate with all the tools and gadgets we have available. Laptops have just started becoming cost effective, and now they are already making way for “IPad’s”, “Smart phones”, and “tablets”.

The Information Age is here; also commonly known as the Computer Age or Digital Age, characterized by the ability of individuals to transfer information freely, and to have instant access to any type of information that would have been difficult or even impossible to find previously. It has become a fast paced, radical, and challenging world, where information is power, and the lack thereof, will cause your down fall some believe, just about everything out there is information driven, and it informs every aspect of life and living as we know it today, in one way or the other.

Information shapes the business landscape; so too our own managing styles and management philosophy, thereby business practice are adapting, with new entrants that are also becoming fashionable; the likes of BI, MIS and BA. What do we know about all these changes taking place, have we kept up? What do they hope to achieve and how do they work?

Today several new entrants are with us, they have come a long way in the making, and it is only now that they are finally coming to life, and extremely useful. With that said, they also come with some integration problems and challenges of their own, they are; Business Intelligence and Business Analysts as well as Management Information Systems Analysts still seen as new kids on the block – however we hear a lot of BI and BA talk, things are changing likewise with MIS also becoming a buzz word. Continue reading

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

Strategy in Peril

4 Apr

In short what is STRATEGY really?

Ask around, hay friend! What is STRATEGY exactly?

Nine out of ten times someone will have some sort of an idea…very few will peg the mark…and be able to give you the detail of it, this brings strategy into peril. People need to know and understand that everything they do, eat, hear, smell, taste and say daily is because of some form of STRATEGY.

The history of strategy is the history of our world, and the future of man.

We are and were born hunters and gatherers first – afterwards we just become; all self-centred, and aim to exploit our habitat and those in it, with the use of strategy and scheming, to our advantage. It’s all programmed and hot wired into our psyche, to manipulate and use emotional blackmail, we tend to get what we want from a very young age by using these approaches; it’s all forms of strategy we practice.

Strategy exists in order for us, to get what we want, so why don’t we know what it means to be strategic?

We are at risk of losing all the benefits and application of real life strategy, if we do not clarify and quantify how it’s to be seen, used, understood, referred to and handled.

What is Strategy in the true sense of the word or by nature?

We need to make sure that everyone understands not its implicit meaning ;( implying what we think we understand it to be, all in general terms, with only limited insight).

NO! It’s part of life skills…We want and need people to understand and relate to strategy from its explicit meaning; (what it really implies as a matter of fact, and practices, to be representative of this, this is what strategy truly is, and can do.)

Moving from the Implicit; where our answer would be, it means something like planning…

To Explicit; by being able to give a simple definition; 1*Strategy is the 2*art of 3*planning and 4*directing large 5*scale 6*movements and 7*operations of 8*business nature.  Furthermore we should also be able to explain the words that describe the complexity, to create connections for ourselves and others; then we will be able to describe elements that make up strategy. By starting with the basic description of strategy and what it implies.

  1. Strategy; is best described as an approach; a way of doing something’s, by utilising tactics and initiative.

 

Tactics imply;

  1. The ability to use something/ anything to your advantage, from very simple to very complex, it can also take on any form, like; policy, procedures, devices, mashines, skill, knowhow – anything that you can use to give you a power, or leverage. Then we get more complex form of tactics; with manoeuvre, technology…anything that will give you an advantage, or make you faster, or keep you in power, or give you the ability to take and lead by initiative, coercion, enslavement, mediation, the list is open ended. Then lastly War; from infantry to nuclear bombs; it all sorts under this aspect of tactics.
  2. Initiative on the other hand is; the thinking behind all of this, how we structure and organise our selves is called initiative, also entrepreneurship is included. This includes the design of something, also the planning, organising, orchestrating, politicising, and campaigning for an event to take place. It is the cognitive; the thinking part, the thinking about thinking, the critical thing and communication of these ideas. As well as the rallying of agents and means, and the selling of these concepts. How we connect resources, Knowledge and effort to deliver on a goal, this is using our initiative, being labelled as being very resourceful, and cunning, stems from being able to use all of these mentioned elements to add value and then deliver a result.
  3. 2. Art; implies; having certain skills, talents and or ability to do things with people, or perform actions with resources and create something… if you can do it consistently then you have mastered the Art of something, you then become proficient at what you do, then you are labelled an artist.
  4. 3. Planning relates to; the amount of preparation that was set aside beforehand, to think about ways and means of aching goals. This action can be done alone or as groups, or even segmented, where sections are planned and the eventually joined to become the master plan, or blue print. Project management functions mainly on planning. It also looks at forecasting, and scheduling so that we could say with some amount of certainty how much it will cost, what is needed, and how long it will take etc. Other terms used here are; prioritizing, systems, design, risk, budget, influence, techniques, goals, vision, mission, objective, review, action plan, strategic review, closing the gap, swot analysis, analyzing data, etc…
  5. 4. Directing; much like a conductor directs and orchestra, in the same fashion we need to direct all forms of planning into one act. This is leadership, management network, and supervision functions, as well as structure, systems, policy and procedure, all of it has one aim. To deliver the results contemplated in the time, and with the exact specifications in mind.
  6. 5. Scale; refers to the size of the project and the amount of effort required.
  7. 6. Movement; is simple enough; this implies that we need actions, and acts to make them happen, some will be specific, other vague… yet all co-ordinated and calculated. Things won’t happen if we don’t act.
  8. 7. Operations; this is where it all happens on the ground, where we plant the seed, where we do what we had contemplated with effort and time is spent doing  it, performing the acts contemplated…
  9. 8. Business; is supply and demand; in exchange for money…

I hope to some extent; that we can now have 9 out of ten people that can tell me what strategy is- If not, then strategy is still in peril.

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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