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Leadership Strategy

Can the Stripe community letter create guidance for you and your company?

Stripe released a brilliant and smart seven-page letter for their community, it was an update on the company, what they drove In 2021 and where their next steps are and where they see opportunity. 

At first glance, you can tell this has taken a number of iterations but the most impressive element of the letter is how detailed and directive it is, not just for Stripe (taking a leaf from Bob Iger’s book: lead from press release), its partners and those wanting to be in the fintech community but for the industry as a whole. 

A letter is a format I have written about before, the letter of writing a letter is personal, intentional and provides a map for those who struggle to see a vision through presentations and videos. 

Everyone can create a presentation or a deck with aesthetically pleasing graphs and numerous words but a letter is a statement of intent, a way to appeal to many without death by PowerPoint and donning their caps to the likes of Jeff Bezos who mastered the art of the shareholder letter and Warren Buffett’s excellent shareholder letters, read the four giants section from 2021 letter

What can you take inspiration from for your letter? 

Impact

A brief look back at what you achieved, the product solutions shipped with mentions of partners you are proud of and the impact you’re having. 

Stripe 2022 shareholder letter

Direction

Setting clear product and industry direction is vital for any letter, internal or external. Stripe sets a direction for the industry who have built on its piping and for those wanting to grow moving forward.

Reduce the fears

Cybersecurity and hacking are areas many have unfortunately experienced issues in and are a fear every online business has. Acknowledging the problem and highlighting how you are working on this briefly shows you know your customer and offer peace of mind for your partners. 

Show you understand the future

The creator economy is something many businesses are desperately attempting to be part of and Stripe is part of the foundational layer, be inspired by how they reference and show their part of the largest subscription shift in history. 

Ability to focus

Despite being one of the only companies in the world that can be the partner, the piping and the platform, Stripe has an ability to connect the dots like very few and focus their community on their two core business sides the consumer and the businesses playing their space. The way they word their letter is something to analyse and implement in your writings. 

Reference what people know

Unlike many, the Collison brothers are self-aware and reference what others know and discuss and are an important anchor point for many other founders and leaders to leverage. Turn a perceived negative into a positive. 

Stripes mission

Mission

Stripe’s mission is to grow the GDP of the internet. That means both helping existing economic activity migrate to the internet an$ enabling completely new undertakings that couldn’t exist in an offline world.” Stripe’s mission is aligned with business growth and making everyone successful, if you are a marketplace or offer products with solutions for the customer this is something you will want to borrow and drive people towards. 

Moving forward be inspired to get into a room or shared document and write your thoughts, reference the past, highlight the future and showcase your work while celebrating other successes. If you cannot show your mission and vision know you are going to be looking in the rear mirror and the likelihood is you will struggle to bring the company and potential partners into the future with you. 

The TLDR: Inspire the internal and external customer by writing a brilliant letter showcasing your achievements, your past and the provide a bright future for you and your ecosystem.

Read the full letter below

Read other essential leadership lessons

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Categories
Strategy

The Mission, Vision, 5x Principles, Strategy, Departmental Plans, Tactics Cheatsheet  

The one word that confuses so many companies is strategy, what strategy is and is not and who sets strategy, plans and tactics.

In one of the most popular and most shared leaders newsletter, WTF is strategy we shared how you build strategy, simply: you have one company-wide strategy, departmental plans rolling up into the strategy and then tactical layers underneath.

Simple right?

Well, it should be, however, with so many demands to have longer plans and missions to complete, here is a free breakdown and cheatsheet to build the right framework for your company’s strategy journey.

The Mission, Vision, 5x Principles, Strategy, Departmental Plans, Tactics Cheatsheet  

Mission

The incompletable mission your company is on. The biggest of achievements.

Missions can be revisited every five to ten years or in big times of world change.
Set by leadership (founder + board)

Vision

The ten-year vision for the company, vision is what you will strive to become.

Vision is to be revisited every 3 years. 
Set by leadership and supporting panel

5x Principles

The guiding principles to make decisions. If there is confusion or your strategy is going off course, your principles make decisions easier and guide you into the vision and the mission.

These principles should be re-visited each year but stay the majority the same to keep the company on track
Set by leadership and supporting panel

Annual Strategy

The annual company-wide strategy, the things you are going to do and the things you definitely will not be doing. It should fit on one page and everyone in the business should be able to tell you what it is and what success looks like.

The annual strategy should be re-visited but rarely ever change significantly.
Set by leadership

Departmental Plan

No company should have departmental strategies, your department plans have to roll into the annual strategy. Your plans have to be cross-functional and understand the overlap and how you work together with other departments to make the company successful. If there are no cross-functional elements to part of the plan, you have to revisit.

Departmental plans can evolve and change but when they do it has to be known across the business.
Revisit the plans every month, these unlikely should significantly change quarterly
Set by the department (lead+) and their panel    

Tactics

These are the number of activities you will take, including the channels and the levers the teams are going to pull to roll up into the plan, that rolls up into the annual company-wide strategy.

Tactics can change regularly, fortnightly/bi-weekly to quarterly. The more you change, the more you will struggle to keep everyone updated and believe in long terms plans.
Set by tactical discipline team

Supporting Resources

Categories
Strategy

TikTok’s Strategy Breakdown – “Entertain Everywhere” 

TikTok’s Smart Strategy Decoded – ‘Entertain Everywhere’

You may have noticed in the in-person conversations you are having, in the shares received in your iMessage or WhatsApp groups, embeds in media articles and the super quick trends within your workplace, the one common theme – TikTok. 

TikTok has had an incredible journey from an unknown app to a lip-syncing app (Musically) to an entertainment powerhouse, ever since September 2016, it has been the app that approached usage differently and created a product that entertained segments of time. 

TikTok Product / App Breakdown

At the end of December (2021) Cloudflare announced that TikTok has now overtaken Google as the most popular site online. 

TikTok’s strategic steps are fascinating to trace and is the shining light into the modern world of time and the desire to remove boredom and turn creative people into creators. 

Musically: By creating a new app that enabled you to lip-sync with your favourite song and share, the simple shift from photo first to video first proved the use case in the East and the West and generated the use case would work across multiple cultures. 

Advertising: The TikTok team famously spend $1b in 2019-2020 to market the app in the US, this is almost unheard of. 

Once critical mass was hit TikTok could reduce the high advertising cost. 

Selecting Influencers: The TikTok team hand-selected a number of everyday young American’s using the app daily and promoted their content into the feed of millions of users, turning them into international superstars overnight. 

Over 14 of the most followed stars have over 50m followers. 

Many of the TikTok specific stars now post a lot less and entered into other pursuits, which suggests the power TikTok offers. 

Product Rethought: Removing The Need For Follower and Friend Graph: Something that TikTok moved towards that many others are now following is the removal of the need for you to bring your contacts to the app and reducing the friction of needing a network to share your content to first. One of the biggest shifts in social media is removing the friction that you need an audience, whereas, TikTok serves content to the relevant audience based on usage. This is why the “For You Feed” is the default feed vs discover on other apps. 

Remix Culture: TikTok’s remix culture is in my opinion the most powerful feature, enabling users to duet and remix others content natively on the app drives huge engagement and creates sharing loops and collaborations from its newest users to the celebrities joining the app. The remix culture is something so many other networks have struggled to enable and support safely. 

Removing Boredom: Eastern apps are designed around time and time slots, not around traditional use cases, this allowed TikTok to capture specific times where they could serve different content and push different content to the users at different times of the day, morning commutes, lunchtime slots, evening commutes and endless scrolling at night. 

Trump Bump Aka Potential Ban: President Trump famously wanted to ban the app in 2020, this was a cultural war that dragged on and was ultimately banned. Was this something that actually aided TikTok’s growth, likely and paired with how it created fear in the younger generation, it helped to create a fresh set of eyeballs on the app.  

Timing: Coinciding with covid and lockdowns, TikTok really had the opportunity to reshape entertainment. TikTok allowed a creative outlet for all of its users and become an outlet for many expressing their views, whether that was positive or negative against corona, vaccines and lockdowns. 

Sound As The Hero, Video As The Superhero: Unlike other apps, TikTok understands that the sound of the video creates trends, sounds are the magic ingredient to help start quick turnout trends and drives a huge cycle of content creation, in turn, this powers a huge amount of the videos being created. 

Brands Pay From Day 1: Pay to play is almost unheard of from day 1 of an app’s popularity. Brands always look for ways to leverage new platforms and for free. Unlike other apps, TikTok understood that if you want ‘reach’ and engagement you pay for it in the form of hashtags and advertising.  

Start Short Then To Longer Form Content: When others zig you are taught to zag, with stories content it has a short form time limit, while TikTok had everything between 15 to 30 seconds, it pushed to 3-minute content while the other apps pushed to shorter form content to copy and recycle their model. 

Sponsoring Large Sporting Events: TikTok has become the brand that becomes the default sponsor or preferred partner, particularly making smart moves into football (soccer) and offering different challenges and look behind the scenes.

@england Reply to @alisarhan11 Jude Bellingham thinks he’s the king of FIFA 🤔👑 #AskEngland ♬ original sound – England

Becoming The Screen Of Choice: TikTok has sponsored large football (soccer) events, and large rugby events and now homing in on cultural calendar events like the Eurovision song contest. By partnering with such a big calendar event and becoming the screen of choice for the watchers, usage increases, users will log in and engage and there will be large coverage of the event across the world.
This move highlights the importance of being the canonical screen or the first screen.

Copy, Share, Download: What’s the secret sauce behind TikTok, knowing internally they do not have to be an app downloaded on the phone to know you are experiencing TikTok, being shared across Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, iMessage, WhatsApp etc while not having to leave that native app while the timestamp is on said content.

Many people know what TikTok is and can view copied links within the browser and highlight who the specific share came via highlighting the account that shared that video on the bottom left-hand side. 

How sharing off-platform works differently enabling a better personalised entertainment everywhere

Everyone As A Creator & Influencer: TikTok worked out there should be a potential of any video to gain views and enable you to become a creator or feel like an influencer. On other platforms, this felt exclusive to the top %, on TikTok with one video it can make any of its users feel like an influencer. 

High Profile Users: TikTok became the new platform for many high profile celebrities and artists to join and be part of trends.

Ed Sheeran became one of the most popular TikTok celebrities, using the app to announce numerous launches and campaigns

Status: TikTok’s removal of needing an audience of friends has created a whole new status game unlike on other platforms. Creating new a status create a new set of rules to play in and creates new (potential) opportunity for creators. 

Allowing anyone to feel like an influencer or expert has worked for TikTok (however many companies have struggled under the pressure of driving eyeballs to footfall.

Product Breakthroughs: Whether this was deliberate or something the algorithms enabled was specific products and cooking recipes went viral in certain Toks (bubbles).

Serve Skippable Ads: Once TikTok hit critical mass and north of ~300m worldwide users they added a skippable ad as soon as you opened the ad. Great for views data and great for brands who need a large number of views of their brand for awareness of a product or service.

Next? Appearing In Google Search Results: Something Google struggles with walled social networks is surfacing the content within their search engine result pages, Google is plotting to surface TikTok videos right inside of Google result pages. This move for Google is smart but this plays into the ‘entertain everywhere’  mission TikTok is on. Serving trending content within one of its indirect rivals is a critical play in a distributed play. 

TikTok On TV: In the US TikTok is now a TV app, enabling TikTok to be enjoyed on the bigger screen, a genius move to connect more devices and a device that still controls the shape of the shared living space. TikTok’s biggest win is becoming a platform that multiple eyeballs enjoy at once, this may seem like an older approach to distribution however building connection and affinity around its app is a strategically smart and creative move.  

Pre Built For Scale: Many apps and websites struggle with scale, not TikTok. TikTok doesn’t suffer from outages, it doesn’t suffer from lack of content, it can serve content from many different Tok’s (self-selected subcategories within the app) and learn from your entertainment levels. 

As of the start of 2022, TikTok has 1b users (The Chinese version of TikTok is named Douyin and works slightly differently), the average time spent is the highest of all apps and despite only having around 10% of users as creators it is driving 90% of passive (aka lurkers) to spend more time and engage more frequently. These elements are core learnings for many new companies and existing businesses needing to step up and grow their usage or user base.

If you are looking to take inspiration from TikTok’s strategy “Entertain Everywhere“, here are 12 elements you should consider:

  1. Culture: Understand the new cultural element you can provide – understand the cultures you are going in to and the news cycle in those markets. For instance knowing TikTok’s mechanics would have worked in the Western world, whereas many of the Chinese features in Douylin would not work.
  2. Hold Firm On Vision: Entertain everywhere is something I created as a guiding principle (vision for the company to build around), if TikTok had changed their vision they would have been shaped far more and would have become a very different offering in 2022. By playing in SERP’s, by serving content across different platforms (away from walled gardens of Facebook & Instagram) and on TV TikTok becomes the entertainment void for many instances.
    1. Evolve Don’t Pivot Quickly: Unlike other entertainment and social networks TikTok evolved from short to long form, they didn’t pivot or restructure their app or mechanics. Longer form helped shift metrics from time to engaged attention
  3. Easy To: Make the app consumption = easy to learn, easy to use, easy to share, easy to personalise, this allows users to work out if the app is for them on the first two uses. Learn that your site or app has to be sticky and serve entertainment or use cases.
  4. Rethink To Reshape: Look at rethinking the x of you business vertical. In TikTok’s case; they rethought entertainment in time slots and developed out content to serve and worked out what entertained you
  5. New New: Rethink the core concept of serving content in the way everyone else does – reframe it or offer it differently. Instagram is slowing and becoming less used because it just cannot recycle product features from all of it competitors.
  6. Duet & Remixing: The web moved from reader mode (access to content), to writer mode (anyone can add content with a low barrier to entry), to creator mode with video (and importantly, ease of editing) remixing and editing other people’s content was vital, a copy and paste approach works for most products, learn from behavioural economics, something that is started already is far more likely to be completed.
  7. Spend On Marketing & Advertising: Look to advertise across the board and be smart in targeting, TikTok took a huge bet on mass advertising (to everyone, everywhere) knowing it would pay off as the product was sticky enough and served the right content and learnt from it users to make it something important
  8. Social Proof 2.0: Use social proof from your users to enforce or approve the content shared. Know that your users will want to share content across where their network is, why not add the stamp and their profile name and imagery. Think about how products and services actually spread.
  9. Hero: Consider how you help to make every user the hero of the product, whether they are a creator (poweruser) or a passive user (lurker)
  10. Sidekick: When users decide to share help them to appear as a sidekick – TikTok made the content become the hero and the sidekick is the person who created it or shared the content
  11. Partnerships: Partner with brands that naturally resinate with your target demographic and customers. Be proud of the partnerships and ensure you gain traction and positive association from said partners.
  12. Plan & Centre Around Long Term: Have grand long term plans – think 5 years ahead, plan 3 years, action 1 year, TikTok has delivered important updates to its app continually since it’s inception
Categories
Strategy

Annual Playbook Template For Company-Wide Success

Every year businesses set up their teams to fail by asking them to build their action plan or playbook for the year ahead.

Why? Because often it is no one’s specific job to own or the owner has only ever done it one way in this business and do not know the ingredients to list on their recipe, aka the right template for the company strategy.

Remember how the best companies win is by having one company-wide strategy, not departmental strategies.

Time For The New Template

Without specific guidance or a template every department across a business does it differently, they rarely collaborate and the business then has 5-10 different departments with different formats making it nearly impossible to understand what the teams are doing and why their actions are important.

OKR’s Fail

Many companies have moved to the OKR model, OKR’s work for some, however, OKR’s do not go into the how or generally the why, this creates frictions at KR levels and individuals are faced with the choice of selecting the company or team OKR or having to select their own KR to hit their targets.

This quickly impacts company culture and introduces “me before we” – individuals putting themselves first before their team, department and the company.

This is just one way the system does not enable you to support your team with the right template and creates instant friction from the start of the year.

7 Step Template

This year I wanted to create a free 7 step template for you and your teams to use and help to shape the year ahead for success and provide a chance to present to each other to enable each department to understand the actions you are going to be taking and the demands on that team.

There are two templates available for you to scroll through and then download for free.

To download once in the Google interface, go to:

File >> Download >> Select your format to download.

The Free Strategy Templates

Docs Template

Slides Template

If you are struggling to build your company strategy get in touch below.

Or read these essential guides to strategy

This is essential reading for company strategy
Essential reading for those struggling with how to build long term plans
Find out what your business should operate as, a partner, a platform or the piping
The common mistakes businesses make when becoming successful, fighting internal politics and internal problems not the customer problems
Imperative for those who have a struggle with different levels of the company and why the company is evolving
Considering rethinking how you operate, considering a 4 day work week or getting pressure to move to full time hybrid, this guide are for you
The complete free hybrid work guide
Categories
Strategy

Microsoft’s Metaverse – The Rush For The Next Revolution

There is a lot made of the metaverse and what it is and is not.

Brands like Meta (Facebook), Microsoft and Apple have all been discussing what the metaverse is and is not for them.

A quick TLDR Metaverse guide:

  • It is a new digital world we will choose to live and operate in.
  • In the metaverse you will likely be an avatar that acts and works differently to your real life
    • Importantly. we may struggle to live in both simultaneously
  • You will likely have to choose if you live and work in the real world of the metaverse
  • It’s not for a single company to own.
  • The metaverse is an organic digital world everyone will have to do build for it to work and be somewhere people will want to live.
  • There will be spaces where businesses will build areas or territories but will not own
  • The Workplace metaverse Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft are currently fighting out is (VR) headsets on top of their own exisiting platforms, with a new set of AR filters and “presence” – feeling like you are close to them and in the same room.
  • Microsoft is using teams as their platform, Meta will use gaming, Workplace and new platforms on top of messaging to be part of their work metaverse.
  • Apple’s dive into the metaverse will the first real move to consumerise the metaverse, rumoured to be available from 2022, with a combination of headset and handset
  • This intersection is not the metaverse. It’s a tiny layer of developing a section of the metaverse.
  • Brands see the metaverse as the next platform paradigm shift, so think about how we shifted to personal computers, then to laptops, then more recently to the mobile and in the future potentailly to the metaverse.
  • Hearing big brands and tech players talk about Work + Metaverse is a play for other companies to understand the direction they are working in and a play to be the piping and the platform and others to be partners.
  • When there’s no leader or ruler and it’s the world west we will get the worst world first
    • Expect the Metaverse to be a lot like the NFT and crypto world to begin with, uncertainity and complex to understand, it will mature quickly, with more adoption
  • The Metaverse is for the ultimate long term – it will take years to build and nuture.

Microsoft Narrative – Much Watch

Mixrosoft CEO Satya Nadella’s new world of work conversation with HBR.

Microsoft metaverse narrative shaping with EMEA president Ralph Haupter

So, why the noise why right?

Big brands will be talking about it for column inches but aren’t doing anything for the development of a digital world where people will choose to be their real selves or a new digital version.

Why Big Tech & The Metaverse

Big tech brands want to be front of mind with metaverse conversations, Meta wants to be connected to it and be seen as thought leaders to help their shift from Facebook and previous issues they created.

Physical Goods Brands Going Meta

A good example of how to reshape your thinking, Nike will be selling trainers you’ll never wear. They are sneaked in a preview of Nikeland, their attempt to introduce a layer into the digital world.

John Lewis and ITV partnered to leverage Fortnite’s platform to offer a shop, this is more of a virtual world but a good primer for what is to come.

The discussion around the next platform is important to understand and prep for.

How to consider the Metaverse

Right now the metaverse is in the earliest forms of being created, there are numerous complexities to work through, specifically technology issues and building the right infrastructure. Be prepared to hear more about the metaverse and it being connected to NFT’s, crypto and Meta.


Good content to help you understand it more:

Matthew Balls Metaverse Primer

https://www.matthewball.vc/the-metaverse-primer

Or listen to how to think about The Metaverse.

Creator Of Secondlife Podcast

Categories
Strategy

5 Smart Ways Businesses Rethought The Work Week

Here are five different companies who really rethought the work week and the problems we face every day to get different and better solutions.

Front’s Flexible Friday.

This is their approach to the 4 day work week.
Making Friday’s optional, you can work, you can take it off or blend of work and rest. The results and feedback are impressive and well worth reviewing.

Google’s 20% Time

Google introduced a working scheme called 20% time.

It was 20% of your working time that was allowed to be allocated to tests and ideas to create great products or rethink how products were being built.

Google News & Gmail were actually products born out of the 20% time experimentation.

3m 15% Time

3m allowed up to 15% of the workweek to be allocated to alternative ideas and projects.

The most successful product from 15% time allocation? The Post-It Note. Probably the most underrated tool within each business.

Asana’s No Go Wednesday’s

No Go Wednesday’s => No Meeting Days!

It is company-wide guidance to enable deep work and projects to move forward without the pressure of meetings.

This is important as it enables more asynchronous communications (which Asana preaches as its tool is designed to offer), time to think and write more effectively and reduces the pressures of having to collaborate in real-time.

Real-time decisions and meetings are notorious time-sucks and create more meetings.

NASA’s Open Innovation

NASA had pressures to innovate and struggled to launch anything of significance in the early 2000s.

There was a move to embrace the wisdom of the crowd aka ‘innovate via the crowd’.

This enabled ideas to be submitted by the American people (not just the NASA experts) and then collaborated with internal experts (it is important to note, this didn’t go as smoothly, to begin with – experts don’t like to be stuff to work on) but sped up innovation and created numerous important findings. This allowed NASA to continue receiving funding.

Go On Think Differently

All of these are ideas that took the idea of reframing time and challenging the standard workweek and creating time, space and reshaping the idea of having to be constantly working on projects suggested by the leadership, OKR’s that can overly shape businesses or hit key numbers that were created by a few in long-range planning or in last years annual planning cycle.

Thinking differently helps many businesses to win, thinking differently in 2022 is going to be essential for you to thrive.

Here is the future of work and the workplace:

Here is the ultimate free hybrid workplace guide:

Categories
Strategy

December Resolutions

Why Wait Until The New Year To Create A Resolution? Build Better Resolutions Today

We apply so much pressure on the New Year’s, a fresh start every year, we set up a long list of things we want to improve but rarely do we hit them. 

Often they are broken by the first week of January and that’s likely down to habits or not creating the right tiny habits (Professor Fogg’s book and framework is a priceless companion) to set you up for success. 

Simple Habits was believed to take 21 days to form, a more recent study found it took up to 66 days. 

There is more research to suggest it can take up to 88 days to form and automatically take on complex habits. 

How are you doing to set up or stop something on January 1st? 

Something we have all experienced since March 2020 is a need to look forward to something.

Something small, something meaningful, something that we haven’t done in a while, something new or something familiar but in a different setting.  

So why wouldn’t you set up a December resolution?

Why wouldn’t you start a month earlier to create a better set of habits? 

Why shouldn’t you spend December building better the plan to build habits to improve 2022 for you and your business? 

Habits are often solo, you rarely gain help with these from partners or friends, whereas WW (Weight Watchers), Peloton, Noom and many other businesses know it is about the support from people doing the same activities that help you move forward and make progress (alongside becoming a habit and buying into the company and continuing to use their products). 

Get ahead of bad resolutions and bad planning for 2022 and get ahead with better habit building and better ways of addressing your bad habits or weaknesses.

A good company strategy is planned out meticulously and is fixed, tactics can change and adapt, pair this and include it into the right set up and your company culture is set up for long term success.


Focus Must Listen:

The podcast below with BJ Fogg and Nike trained podcast is one of my secret weapons of sharing it will help to guide and shape your habits and product building.

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 With Briony Gunson 🧘‍♀️ – Focus Podcast With Danny Denhard Fixing The Broken World Of Work Podcast

This episodes guest Briony Gunson (https://brionygunson.com/) is a business + mindset coach, meditation teacher + trauma-informed breathwork trainer, Briony helps individuals and businesses to improve.  Follow Briony across social – LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube.  The Links:  Briony's Introduction Video On YouTube Podcast: Aubrey Marcus – not about the world of work but psychology, spirituality, human potential + behaviour Book: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art  by James Nestor Newsletter: Brain pickings AKA The Marginalian has a free Sunday digest of the week’s most mind-broadening and hear Sign up to Briony's Friday Feels newsletter: https://bit.ly/3AiEOv9 – Briony archives them on her blog.  Listen to Briony's guided meditations on Insight Timer, e.g. this is a popular one: https://insighttimer.com/brionyg/guided-meditations/letting-go-meditation-12-minutes Briony also recommended Kirsty Hulse's work (Kirsty is great and gets my co-approval) Briony takes us on a journey of: Mental health and why it is so important to be aware of How mental health is evolving How your mental health can help to transform physical health Why early morning open-air swims have been so important Therapy and therapists role in peoples lives Why breathwork is so important Why our bodies are driven by our breath and controlling our breath Why Yoga is vital to so many of us Personal development starts with you Everyone is facing similar challenges – it's how you find the best course of action Why retreats are going to so popular and a necessary part of life and work You are the expert of yourself – why starting to listen to yourself and your body is so important
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