Categories
Strategy

The Key To Winning Business – Be The Power P: The Partner, The Platform, The Piping

Why The Three P’s Is Winning & Will In The Future

Throughout time, businesses have had to evolve past just selling widgets. 

We went from specialists selling a smaller number of SKU’s, to selling huge amounts of SKU’s just to compete. Many then moved to rely on everyday people to sell their products on your platform to compete on search engines and drive enough people to drive another round of investment or keep the lights on. 

Many of these changes were necessity, rarely strategic and survival becomes the name of the game, while slowly killing development, product improvements and investment into true growth levers

In the age of the internet, faster more convenient apps and prime expectations, we have seen the way we browse, broker and buy evolve quickly and many times we did not see the landscape shift and change, why? Because of how discreet and smart these new players are. 

In today’s market, we have seen the three P’s step up and win as operating models: 

The Partner 

The Platform 

The Piping 

Categories
Strategy

Has your business stepped too far away from your customer’s problems?

One of my fundamental beliefs is the best and most successful companies were set up to fix existing problems and then some were set up to help fix the next wave of problems.   

The best and most successful business strategies in the world are based on problem-solving.   

The most successful companies either help to fix said problems, help consumers to solve the problem or matchmake the consumer and the right solution or solution provider. 

The art of business always needs a middle person to connect problems with problem solvers. 

One of the core issues many companies face is getting to a size where they stop solving core issues for their customers. 

Categories
Strategy

What The Company Was, What The Company Is & Where It Is Going

There are always three phases of a company, 

  1. What it was (past)
  2. What and where it is today (present)
  3. And where the company is headed and where you are driving it. (prospect)

The Past – What It Was

Many have fond memories of what the company was, often those long-serving employees look back and reminisce of what it was and how it used to operate. As soon as it moves on and often matures, employees will look to leave or look to evolve outside of the company. 

The Present – What And Where It Is Today

Many will struggle with what the company is, what it is, how it acts, how it operates and how to it being seen and understood today, this is often the job of the management team to really take those on the journey around them and help the teams come to terms with its evolution and how it will act for a specific time period. 

The now and near term future is often the hardest to manage, as the company has evolved, will have to evolve again and will be the time to build for the future without losing your best talent who experienced change.

The Prospect – Where We Are Headed 

The challenging phase for many to buy into and see is where the company is headed for the longer term, many will take growing pains and allow steps to make to improve the working environment and product shifts but without the vision is clear and aligned, many will make their minds up to stay for the long term or set a window to leave. 

Rule To Guide You

The sliding scale to be aware of: 

Company culture is often given a nine-month grace cycle by employees, 

  • 0 months what is going on
  • 1-3 months understand what is happening and where I stand 
  • 3-6 months what’s happening now and where are we going vs the previous period 
  • 6-9 months this is the place I can work in and thrive in or this is the place I have to leave for my career. 

If your manage to enable those to go back into a previous category you likely have had a positive effect.

Often when intentional and deliberate (and open) communication and long term plan is lost, you are proactively pushing team members into the next category and that is always bad news. 

Understand & Lead

As a manager, I would highly recommend understanding at what phase of these nine months your colleagues and team members are and what levers you should pull to add clarity and reduce confusion around where the company is and where it is headed and how it will continue to evolve. 

Being able to have discussed phases and directions always helps shape individuals outlooks and points of view on their career in or outside of a business. 

Business Performance = Company Culture x Company Strategy

Company strategy and clarity of the strategy helps to shape the business performance and when paired with the company culture, this helps shape your workforce for the long term and helps you to place both performance indicators together on a level playing field and really drive an organisation forward.  

Your New Compass 

Without a vision, people will question you as a leadership team and question the compass they have to follow. 

Without a mission many will question the why and what are we offering 

Without a clear strategy for the next twelve months, this will raise numerous questions and concerns and many people need something to tie into more than a set of OKR’s and goals. 

Crystal Clear Clarity 

If a team member cannot understand why it has changed, where it will continue to change and where you are headed, you will not be in a place where you can retain top staff, you can sell a vision to attract top staff vs a competitor or large brand and you will not be in a place to lead to truly articulate your current phase to the ELT or board. 

Moving forward learn that the past informs the present and helps to shape the important future of your employee experience but also many people’s careers.

The leadership team have to be mindful and proactive in leading from the front and providing clarity at each step, especially when you have decided to mature a business or looking to be acquired and the internal focus and culture shifts.

Listen To The Focus Podcast

Fixing the broken world of work podcast with Colin Newlyn 🏴‍☠️ Fixing The Broken World Of Work Podcast

Fixing the broken world of work podcast with Colin Newlyn & Danny Denhard  Thanks for listening today! This is a great conversation with Colin, you will want to listen if you are looking to improve your workplace, making positive change with yourself and how to challenge the status quo by thinking like a pirate.  The Conversation includes: Decrapyifying work The top tips to decrapify work How leadership is about leading Why we should be more pirate Should we rethink the whole work week, should we even have a commute? Policing from managers Why politics and proximity still dictate success And how to rethink and realign our people, heart first leadership Newsletter – https://decrapifywork.substack.com/ https://decrapifywork.substack.com/p/start-it-up Popular LinkedIn Share  The Intro To Decrapifying Work The TLDR to the article  Too many work environments are toxic and harming the people in them, which is why Stress, anxiety and depression are at record levels and rising People are dying from work-induced stress-related illnesses Burnout is commonplace (and now a recognised illness) Suicide levels are increasing (especially amongst men) Mary Parker Follett Quote “While leadership depends on depth of conviction and the power coming therefrom, there must also be the ability to share that conviction with others.” — Mary Parker Follett Person to follow – https://twitter.com/MarkCCrowley Video To Watch – https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?language=en Podcast To Listen To: Bruce Daisley’s – Eat Sleep Work Repeat 
  1. Fixing the broken world of work podcast with Colin Newlyn 🏴‍☠️
  2. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Peter Hopwood
  3. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Andy Reid
  4. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Jo Twiselton
  5. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Sharon Aneja
Categories
Strategy

Strategy Is Baking A Better Cake

Strategy is misunderstood.

Strategy is notoriously difficult.

Getting Strategy right is one of if not the most important elements of business to get right.

There is, however, another way to rethink strategy and stop doing what you have always done and copying the way you have always created strategy at your business.

A way to rethink this: Strategy is like baking a better cake!

Here’s how to think like a master baker.

We all start with the ability to bake a cake as long as we have a recipe, an oven and with a set of ingredients.

Categories
Strategy

The Difference Between Mission, Vision, Strategy & Tactics

There is a lot made of having to have a mission, a vision, then having a strategy with a series of tactics to help to guide the business forward. 

A BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is another level added in recent years to drive a sense of a company’s ultra long term thinking and showing that the organisation is going to prosper for decades to come.   

Breakdown Of Strategy 

Across the business world, many have experienced everything become tactical, we have seen strategy become strategies (this is the common cause of confusion and internal conflict) and the majority of us have experienced ‘strategy’ become tactical and change constantly. 

This chain of events just leads to the company compass being misaligned and misunderstood.   

Something many businesses experience with this shift is regular questions being asked of what direction are we taking, where are we going and what should we be doing?

Clarity is the key to success for any business.

Operating Framework

At focus, we have an operating model, we introduce to each client.   

We explain that our business operating principles are clearly defined and understood so everyone understands that change is either essential or part of progressing the business rather than just reacting to a change or a shift in the market. 

Our operating guidance is as followed: 

Operating Principle Explainer When To ReviewWhen To Change
MissionThe long term objective to complete as your business.

Missions should be somewhat aspirational but within long term reach
Every three years.

You can question every year but do not change unless essential.  
Once a decade 
VisionThe long term direction for the company.

The vision helps to guide decisions when anyone is unsure and needs to understand if you are making the right move. 

Vision has to inspire and be within reach. 
Every two yearsUp to twice a decade
Strategy One company-wide plan for everyone to understand, be able to repeat without any thought and all departments follow.

No team or department should deviate from the strategy. 

Your Company Strategy about guidance should be broken down:

5 Years is thinking ahead, 3 Years is planning ahead and 1 Year delivering for the next year.

It is imperative: No department should have its own strategy. 
Up to twice per year Every year 
Department Action plan Each department creates a plan of action for the year ahead connecting into the one company-wide strategy

Department action plans should be presented to the business. 

Each department should connect together and liaise on their action plans to ensure they will plan resources, budgets and allocate the right prioritises together. 

If teams (for example CRM within Marketing Department) with departments have to break out their action plan it has to roll up into their department plan and connect into the company-wide strategy. 
Up to three times per year Every year 
Tactics Part of the action plan is to help everyone understand the channels and initiatives you are rolling out. 
Tactics are the most flexible part of this operating principle and are important to review, optimise and tweak. 
Tactical layers are important but should not be built up first to build your action plan.  
Monthly Where required 

Each company and business approaches creating ‘strategy’ differently, some are top-down, others are flexible and open for all to add their insights. 

It is fundamental that each manager and every member of the leadership team understand’s this framework and introduces and reminds their teams of this operating framework.

With our management team coaching and strategy audits it is important to guide how important the operating principles are and how to use this as your framework to success. 

With the future of work being hybrid, having a crystal clear mission, vision and strategy could be the difference between missing and hitting targets.

Key To Explaining Mission, Vision, Strategy Internally 

  • For the long term mission and vision are the inspiring elements. 
  • Strategy is the driving force from the short term to the long term. 
  • What is important is to ensure that strategy is the compass for your departments, teams, projects and campaigns. If any team goes off track deliberately and is managed accordingly, you will see offsites and strategy sessions undone very quickly. 

Categories
Leadership Strategy

Andy Jassy’s Masterpiece Memo

Andy Jassy took charge as the Amazon CEO on July 5th, one of his first acts as CEO was to send a powerful internal masterpiece, his memo to his colleagues.

What is most interesting is the language he uses, the tone he influences with and the number of we and brand references Andy makes.

This is a brilliant masterclass of internal communications and a way to align the company around his vision and how they will get there together.

Andy Jassy centre’s the memo around the past, the present and the future by referencing the team that made it possible and how important workplace culture is to him and the organisation moving forward.

In the email memo, Andy Jassy uses brand references (in orange below) to form togetherness, he uses strong connecting language (in red) to reinforce how important the brand is and how far the company has come as a collective.

Andy makes references to speed (an essential characteristic of Amazon and highlighted in blue) and references former boss and now chairman of Amazon Jeff Bezos (read the focus lessons from Jeff Bezos)

Categories
Strategy

The Most Read Focus Articles In 2020

Here are the top 10 most read and most helpful articles from Focus this year.

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Bonus: The Most Discussed With Clients