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
Business Performance

Fanclubs, Community, Tribes, Herds

I recently presented a presentation for the technology platform Funraisin at their digital giving summit.

The presentation was called:

Fanclubs, Community, Tribes, Herds, The Next Generation Of People Powered Businesses.

The presentation helps to guide businesses and charities to understand:

  • The next phase of business
  • The formation of people around core ideas and believes
  • Why fanclubs, community, tribes and herds are going to be shaping how we interact and support businesses
    &
  • How to then proactively shape how we connect to other people and businesses.

The Full Presentation

If you attended the event and would like to rewatch the video click here.

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
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 67 – Would A Bill Gates Think Week Work For You?

Dear Leaders, 

This week I learnt that Bill Gates takes a week off every year for a ‘think week’. 

Bill went so far in going to a wood cabin miles away from anyone to think. 

Although not all of us have this luxury or set up, it is something we could, maybe should consider.

One think week (in 1995) was so famous it helped him to think of Internet Explorer. 

As a huge believer in making and taking the time I truly believe that these weeks would be ideal for many of us. 

Replacing Old Habits

As I suggest in the recent unspoken costs of a leader, it can take so long to relax or fight to find some time, these weeks might just be great to replace the numerous offsites we all have to attend at certain times where you have likely wasted previously. 

Daily Breaks 

One of the best things I built into my previous schedule was to block out three times in the day to think, (1) deep work for the morning, (2) a long walk in and around lunch and (3) coffee break(s) away from the office, generally outside to refresh the environment and take in the fresh air.  

Another tactic I employed was arranging walk and talk meetings where the majority of it was one problem and discussing the possibilities. 

Mini Breaks 

Many large company executives openly looked forward to air travel so they would be offline and could either catch up or have time to think and develop out their thoughts. 

Last summer I spoke to a retiring CEO who would book the same hotel every couple of months and would tell people he was away, the fun part was it was only fifteen-minute walk from his home. 

3 Day Breaks

At a business I consulted with, the leadership team would take a long weekend every quarter, Thursday, Friday and Monday’s, they would take 36 hours to work independently and then the final day would come together, present and create solutions that further collaborate on with their company. 

Think Week For You? 

With the right planning, would a ‘think week’ work for you?  Five days away from the office (or home office) or remote workspace where you dedicated time to thinking and creating a solution or two. 

I know my extra-large Moleskine (pic), three different colour pens and regular walks have created some of the best ideas and business shaping solutions I have had and many others have suggested a similar process works for them.

So this week, consider how a think week might work for you, or you and a few select individuals who would benefit from time off the grid. 

Will you be trying it? 

Thanks and have a great week.  

Danny Denhard

Important Must Reads

Why Not Try Out Our Podcast?

Categories
Podcast

Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Colin Newlyn

Colin Newlyn – Decrapifying Work

Colin and I were introduced by the previous guest Sharon Aneja, Colin is on a mission similar to my own, his mission is to de-crap-ify work. Yes, simple but effective, to it make it less crap.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/2NPsetE4whj72s7rgTNnyY?si=K8JWZLQGS7Wd4q8CMqHSbg&dl_branch=1

Why Listen: Colin is on a mission to decrapify work, Colin has had a great career and has set out to improve work by breaking down the general issues of the work day and workforce and helping individuals by ensuring they put themselves first and understand if they do not proactively try and make the change, you can’t expect others to know how bad a time you are having.

What Colin and I discuss:

  • 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 
Categories
Anonymous Career Advice

Should Every Team Have A Roadmap?

This week’s anonymous career advice is a good question asking should every team have their own roadmap?

This is an important question around being transparent, collaborating and being a collective in changing and adapting how you work for the success of the company.

Q: Dear focus, should every team actually have a roadmap?
And should we connect to the company roadmap?
 

This is a great question! 

I talk about this topic a lot and the process of creating a roadmap for most teams is something I am a fan of.
Anything that actually moves teams away from a finger in the air Gantt Charts is a step in the right direction and takes a list of work and turns it into more deliberate work. 

In the recent strategy articles, I suggested in WTF is strategy and why strategy is often misunderstood for tactics, strategy is the overarching plan of action for the whole company to get behind and work inside of.
Strategy is the important guide for your company, adding in the successful boundary lines. Roadmaps are the same.

Like strategy, a roadmap has to be clearly defined and understood, there should be no misunderstanding of what a roadmap is and is not, what it includes and why these important items are included.

Like strategy, the activity of planning and reviewing is about what you are not going to do and why these handful of items made the cut onto the roadmap. 

Typical product roadmaps need improving but helping to guide new teams will be essential to helping your business to succeed
Categories
Anonymous Career Advice

Google Manifesto It’s Ok To

This week’s anonymous career advice centre’s around Google’s Manifesto which has been shared far and wide praising their approach to working from home or working remotely. It’s important businesses consider the influence Google have and the internal PR machine behind this before creating their own manifesto.

Dear Focus, Google’s manifesto has been all over LinkedIn and my team have asked me why we don’t have one? What’s the best way forward? 

Google are in a place where they can share internal best practices and it will always be shared and leak externally. 

This is often something that just happens, something to consider is how much of this is true and how much of their internal manifesto actually happens and is accepted. 

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 62 – WTF Is Strategy

Dear Leaders,

It’s coming towards the end of the Summer here in the UK which typically means it’s long term planning and/or annual planning review cycle. This is likely the second time you are not in the board room or in a basement of a hotel planning your company’s future.

From recent feedback, many are finding asynchronous or hybrid planning sessions a challenge.

There are common questions that are being asked within businesses that leadership teams (and senior management teams) rarely address, through not knowing these questions that are being asked, but, also because the management team is not connecting to the “floor” and are rarely delivering Q&A to the business.

The usual questions being asked are:

  • What is our strategy?
    – This happens multiple times a year
  • Why are we doing what we do?
    – This is usually a follow up to what is the strategy?
    Or we do not support the strategy still
  • What does success actually look like?
    – A list of targets rarely helps employees to understand what success is and how to build towards it.

The word that stands out above the rest but confuses so many people within businesses is: STRATEGY

Strategy can mean so many things to so many people, everything became strategic.

I have recently experienced every team in a large department creating their own ‘strategy’. That was nine (yes 9) different teams, within one department with their own “strategies” that did not connect at all!

FYI: This is not ‘strategy’, these are actually plans of action, that should roll up to departmental action plans, rolling up into the company-wide strategy. (see image below)

The reason I am being so pedantic and why being deliberate is so important; when everyone has a ‘strategy’, the company strategy is commonly ignored and is then questioned as soon as there are disagreements or performance dips.

On the Focus blog, I recently wrote a detailed post about the difference between mission, vision, strategy and tactics.

The way to think about the bigger picture: Mission sits over & across the top of vision, strategy connects directly into the company vision. Strategy guides each department action plan, with team plans rolling into the department action plan. Tactics sit at the bottom and are often interchangeable but never dictates strategy!

The TLDR framework explainer I used for strategy in this framework:

  • Operating Principle: Strategy  
  • Explainer: One company-wide plan for everyone within the business to understand, everybody throughout the company should be able to repeat without any thought and all departments follow when crafting their own plans.
    No team or department should deviate from the strategy. 
    • Your Company Strategy build should be thought about in this simple way:
      • 💭 Think: 5 Years
      • 🗺 Plan: 3 Years
      • 📦 Deliver: 1 Year ahead
      • It is imperative: No department should have its own strategy. 
  • When To Review Strategy: Up to twice per year 
  • When To Change Strategy: Once a year, every year  

It is well worth reading what is mission, vision, strategy and tactics framework.

⬆️ This is an explainer of what mission is, what vision is, what strategy is, what departmental actions plans are and an explainer of tactics.

The mentioned issues are why you have to be so precise and deliberate with your company or organisations plans.

Are You Struggling?
Run A Strategic Audit Recommendation: If you struggle with strategy or how to answer what your company-wide strategy is, what I recommend regularly is running a strategy audit and then creating a one-pager to reexplain your company-wide strategy to the company.

This newsletter is to help guide you through your leadership journey, if you consider yourself a decision-maker within your business, it should be part of your role to improve your company and introducing and creating frameworks and guides for your teams to follow to be successful within your department and the wider company.
And, importantly, when team members move on to the next challenge.

Help those around you build the team and departmental action plans and roll them up into the actual company-wide strategy.
If you do not have a company-wide strategy or struggle with them or get gain buy-in, get in touch today.

Thanks and have a great week.

Danny Denhard