Internet executive, investor, advisor, and speaker
defining a strategy to win
Strategy is not ‘baked’ then executed. Strategy is ultimately a living, breathing construct that requires both a long term view, a more defined one year plan, explicit shorter-term milestones, and an iterative engine that takes key inputs from the external environment and blends them with what you learn from execution. This isn’t to say that you should be revisiting your strategy ever week or month. Your business judgment should determine when there are enough systemic changes from these inputs to make you stop and revisit your foundational game plan. Finally, a comment on the ‘unexpected surprises’: often in the course of execution you will find unexpected successes (rapid scale where you didn’t anticipate it, revenues you didn’t plan for, customers using your product to solve problems you didn’t anticipate). Chase these areas aggressively because they are often the seeds of much larger opportunities.
Any organization or business needs to have built the right underlying foundational skills or pillars in order to maximize its chances of truly ‘winning’ with its strategy. This simple equation breaks down what I believe to be the most important pillars or components. Of course it starts with the people. You need to build a world-class execution team in order to win. The better and stronger the team, the greater your chances of succeeding. That team needs to then focus on delivering true, game-changing customer experience and value in a way that creates enduring competitive advantage. The result of this will be shareholder (or stakeholder) success. Subsequent slides will delve a little deeper into the sub-bullets on the right. This framework can serve as one of the highest order diagnostic frameworks for any organization (e.g. our team is ‘green’ but we have gaps in customer experience and we have not built our experience in a way that will create enduring competitive advantage).
Measuring the right success metrics is one of the hardest things to do well. You can ignore the sub-bullets to a large degree as the actual metrics you will end up with should vary significantly from this. The key point here is that you need to run a balanced scorecard across the key foundational pillars described on the previous slide. That’s the only way to know whether you are in fact improving on those dimensions. And which metrics are most important? They are all equally important. Still, I continually run into people who look for the ‘one key metric’ that should be the key focus. To them I respond with this analogy: which of the following is the most important in terms of your personal health: 1) whether your heart is beating; 2) whether you are breathing; 3) whether your brain is firing? I personally wouldn’t want to have any one of them go off the grid.