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Strategy and Strategic Planning

Strategy is how we win in the market place, the battle or any other sort of competitive game.

Defining it like this very much agrees with the intuitive sense we have for strategy but does not provide any specific guidance or techniques to use in a real situation that we may be facing.

And very rightly so, I may add, because strategy is situational, meaning that what it is and how it is applied depend very much on the particular situation we are encountering.

To illustrate what we mean, let’s consider the parallel of a chess game. There are no formulas on how you win in a chess game. It depends on the deployment of your opponent’s pieces and yours, it will be different for instance when your opponent is left with no knights at all, and how you play will very much depend on the other player’s capabilities and strategies.

Strategy is thoughtful anticipation of how to influence in our favor the evolvement of the game so that we win it in the end. This implies that strategy making is not a once-off endeavor but a constant process that takes place all the time.

Some of the most common ways that this favorable influencing of the outcome occurs are sometimes by positioning that exploits our strengths and neutralizes opposing strengths, other times by constantly driving towards our vision or by consistently exploiting or creating situational circumstances that give us an advantage.

Strategic planning puts emphasis on the strategy-making process. It has many merits and proved especially in the past very valuable. Nowadays, however, one of its basic premises that of the relative certainty of knowing where to go and how to go from current state 1 to future state [...]

By |July 17th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The benefits of having a business strategy

It provides direction as to

What your company aims to ultimately achieve (Vision),
What guides your daily works (Mission) and
What differentiating strengths you must develop to outperform the competition at what you do (Competitive advantage)

If, for instance, we say that our strategy is “to make customers want to return to us”, implied within it are our Vision to grow, our Mission to make quality and simultaneously competitively priced products and our Competitive Advantage (CA) centered on our organizational capability to create satisfying products in demand by our targeted customers.

At one leg we have our customer needs and at the other our configuration of the product. Business strategy should match the two with each other in a unique mix of effectiveness and ingenuity.

Benefits from having a business strategy are:

It makes us focused on the wants of the customer and on how to create meaningful products
It guides us to find a position where we can play the competitive game to our strengths while minimizing the influence of our competitor strengths
It gives a direction to the work of the company
It guides alignment and coordination amongst the company people
It generates tactics to win battles and overrun obstacles

In crafting a strategy many tools and frameworks are used like the Strategy Canvas, the SWOT, the Porter’s 5 or 6 forces, the Value Chain or the Business Model Canvas. Each when properly used builds on the insights of the others and together offer a more comprehensive search into what matters in your business thus helping to identify the business strategic elements.

The need for strategy may not come from the start of the company. Businesses originally operating by the owners’ gut feeling though OK in the beginning years, [...]

By |June 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The mechanism of spreading knowledge analogous to Adam Smith’s wealth creation

Today’s mechanism of spreading knowledge is analogous to the mechanism of wealth creation of Adam Smith. To document it, below we briefly examine the mechanism of each of the two separately and then compare their most salient features, though we admit that our treatment of the claim provides food for thought and is by far not exhaustive.

The mechanism of spreading knowledge

The drive for the accomplishment of the self makes us want to disseminate freely our knowledge and our best works in pursuit of the others’ direct or indirect approval. Manifestations of such approvals or recognitions come by comments of appreciation, positive reviews or likes which serve to feed the sought-after enhancement of self.

Adam Smith’s mechanism of spreading economic prosperity

Adam Smith in his classic book “The Wealth of Nations” says that it is the rational self-interest which through trade and gain leads to the spread of economic prosperity. Individuals trade by exhibiting their products for others to see their value and endorse them thus contributing to the seller’s wealth which was then the sought-after enhancement of self.

The recognition of value in the days of Adam Smith was done by selecting and buying whereas in our days the recognition of the knowledge value is indicated by acceptance through likes and comments.

Some of the prominent points of the analogy are summarized in the table below

WEALTH CREATION
OF ADAM SMITH
KNOWLEDGE CREATION-DISSEMINATION

Motive
Self-interest forGain and
Self-enhancement
Self-interest forAccomplishment and
Self-enhancement

Attention-attracting method
Exhibiting and trade
Offering to public view via internet, exhibitions, concerts etc.

Value recognition through
Buying:
Money payment
Attending or Reading:
Likes, appreciation, applause

Many people nowadays across all the spectrum of life, artists, writers, scientists share their work freely, without thought of charging for it, simply seeking a [...]

Be innovative to turn a Miscalculation into Something Better than Expected

I was hanging in my office a painting, the art of my 10-year-old grand-daughter which she painted in her 2nd class of the elementary school, and after I drilled the hole and hanged the painting on the wall, I saw that it was too high.

To drill another hole below and cover the already drilled hole? To forget it all and pretend that all was good? None a perfect answer!

Then I came up with new thinking. To hang another smaller painting below the one considered high.

The space fitted the smaller painting very well and the couple of them looked extremely nice, much better than a perfectly positioned single first painting could look.

The lesson from the story equally applies to business situations that result from our decisions.

Sometimes after the execution of an idea or a plan, we are faced with the realization that the achieved new state is much less than what was desired. Even worse is the realization that to change it, it would not be possible without leaving its scars badly exposed.

The answer for such unwelcome situations is, instead of attempting to change it, to think innovative how by adding to it, adding some new features, you will achieve correctness and even create a new state better than what was originally aimed at.

 

About the author: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training and can be reached by email: psardos@sardossolutions.com or telephone: +357 99640912, +357 24400884, www.sardossolutions.com

Culture: Simplicity matters

Culture is said to be hard to implement because it relates to the human factor and to the need for people to link with one another and cooperate for a common cause.

To win through this implementation challenge, culture should be kept simple in its concepts and wordings as to be given more clarity. More clarity, in its turn, will make it more understandable and easier to communicate and will lead to greater consistency under the various business circumstances.

To show that simplicity is possible when dealing with culture, we provide here below simple, short answers to some critical issues about culture.

When do we need to bring in a new culture?

Two distinguishable cases:

a)      When a successful organization finds itself stumbling and is no more successful (What got it here won’t get it there)

b)      When a struggling organization finds itself in a state of disarray and when the individualism of its members trumps organizational cohesion

What is culture?

Beyond its ordinary definition, we can see culture as a cohesion force that substitutes for a lot of rules and bureaucracy.

How is culture related to strategy?

Culture, the people’s mindset, should align with strategy i.e. a change of strategy necessitates a change in culture.

Where should a change of culture start?

Culture emanates from the top. The CEO and top leaders have an important role not only in crafting the desired culture but also in serving as role models for its implementation.

How long does it take to embed a new culture?

Culture is a long-term endeavor and for success, it should trickle down from the top and involve through practical measures everyone in the organization.

Culture is not about long drafted manifestations but about the way we do things that are shaped by our beliefs and [...]

The Operations Role in the Business Strategy-Making

This article aims to create awareness among companies of the strategic role that their Operations can play as a means of implementing business strategy and to convince them to embrace and support their “Operations” so as to enable them to play this role.

Almost all companies have strategies, but only a few have implementation plans and even fewer have successful implementations. There is a gap between strategy and implementation, and how to bridge this gap remains for most an unknown road.

“Operations” by its very nature has the capacity to execute and implement Strategy by aligning critical operations decisions with the performance attributes required by the business strategy. Operations make decisions in many critical business areas and the way these are made is influenced by strategy but at the same time, it is these decisions that give flesh and blood to strategy.

What the targeted customer wants is the first leg of the marketing strategy. Operations prepare and enable the company to respond to those needs, addressing in this way the second leg of the business strategy and completing the process.

The Operations’ implementation of strategy follows a cycle that may be thought like this:

Operations, first, either by themselves or with the aid of others learn what the customers want; it requires that they listen through surveys and KPI assessments.
Second, they must develop the right products, skills and knowledge that will enable them to deliver what is needed; it requires them to recognize the gap between what they have and what is needed and to try to fill it.
Third, they must reach the chosen markets and the right customers to deliver their products or services; it requires them to establish the necessary channels and target the [...]

By |March 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Our quotes illustrated with pictures

ON LEADERSHIP

 

 

ON RESONANCE

 
ON MARKETS

ON LEARNING

By |February 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The leader’s window to convert glow into action

 

There is a glow after success that radiates from the leader
A glow that is fired up by self-confidence as well as
the enhanced trust of others
But which is not forever. Before the glow fades,
the leader has the most opportune time to push forward
with new thoughts, actions and influence.

By |February 18th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Why Leadership is not about followers but about influence

The saying that leadership is about followers, is undeservingly detracting from the human capacity and dignity of people who happen not to be in leadership positions.

A follower is someone who does what other people say to do! Therefore, such a saying implies for those it calls “followers”, less value, or a possible incapacity on their part to contribute constructively, or that these people have accepted to surrender and confine their free self and thought to the command of a higher-up.

Even if we consider followership as simply a name given to the people in a company that are apart from the leader, with no intention for it to mean to exclude either a two-way communication or people from contributing, why use such a derogative name? Couldn’t we find a better one? Call them, say in politics, constituents, in business, colleagues or contributors, to also keep current with the modern philosophies of leadership which long ago moved away from the old school of Taylorism that advocated command and mechanistic-like behavior.

Leadership is about influence, not followers. A leader is an inspiring force that appeals to the human emotions of people and therefore to address them as “My dear followers” is incongruous with a noble character that a leader should have, and exhibit.

Influence means the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen. A leader does not operate by orders, does not coerce, nor does he use the authority of his position to force decisions on his people. Instead, a leader communicates, listens and includes, points the way to the goals and inspires action towards them.

A leader is an accomplished person with experiences, knowledge, skills, who seeks the best appropriate vision, and who, in search of that [...]

By |February 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Appreciation: something you must show more often

Don’t be afraid to show appreciation to your employees; while appreciation carries no cost, it is a source of many and significant benefits to your people, and to your organization as well.

Nowadays when innovation and creativity are survival attributes for many companies, free, unhampered thought is very sought after.

Encourage it by honestly appreciating the unique qualities that each of your employees brings into the game. Encourage it by simply saying thank you for something well done.

In the right environment and appreciative climate, people will shift to a higher level of thinking, more capable to achieve synergistic thought and, why not, sometimes, a kind of unique resonance!

 

About the author: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training. Those with further interest in the topic or in other management services are invited to reach him either by email: psardos@sardossolutions.com or phone: +357 99640912, +357 24400884, www.sardossolutions.com

By |January 16th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|