October 2014

This Inaugural Welcome Edition

Welcome everyone to my new website and this Inaugural Edition of what will be a monthly newsletter. Each month I will share with you, some commentary on current business topics as seen in the WSJ, Fortune, Business Week, HBR, CEO, and other contemporary sources. And I will provide some helpful insights on what's happening that could be highly relevant to your own efforts on strategy development or execution management.

The Reflections section will include the lessons learned in actual strategy assignments using anonymous clients' stories and their experiences. Finally, in the Glossary section, I will take a term or analysis tool used in strategy development or execution and expand on it for those who might be less familiar with the terms strategists use every day.

It is common in textbooks to begin with acknowledgements, yet websites never seem to have them, so I'd like in this inaugural newsletter, to thank some of the numerous mentors, consulting associates, client executives, and friends who have guided me, worked closely with me over years, and been a tremendous source of knowledge, encouragement, and inspiration over the years. The danger in doing this is that you inevitably leave out some people that you had intended to include. Please accept my apologies, any omission does not diminish my profound thanks for your contribution to my successes.

I especially want to thank: Chuck Griffith, Don Meltzer, Basile Papaevangelou, Joe Avila, Harsha Agadi, Chad Barr, Kevin Keough, Peggy Nelson, Bill Miller, Jim Shellhaas, Rick Sarpolus, Mark Amlinger, Jane Kirkland, Doug Pendergast, Gerry Gorman, Mike Knapek, Mark Bernicky, Cornelius Lee, Ron Hoge, Matt Boyle, Amy O'Neil, Steve Hochhauser, Wes Perry, Ben Hernandez, Andy Lee, Bob Rowatt, Debra Faris and the many others with whom I have collaborated, learned from, or had the honor of serving. You have each helped me in immeasurable ways, for which I will always be grateful.

Welcome to the Center for Strategy Execution Newsletter

From Panic to Hero

Early in my consulting practice, my soon-to-be client had reached a state of near panic. His CEO had made clear that his operation was ripe for sale. The CEO had stated that my client's aerospace business was really a hodgepodge of business unit remnants left over from the last major reorganization. Consequently, the CEO felt there really was no integrating vision or strategy to tie the business unit together in a way that could grow. He had given my client one year to come up with one, or he would sell of all the disparate pieces.

I thus asked my client, "Okay, why all the anxiety?" "We don't have a year, because the CEO said that six months ago." My response was: "Well we'd better get to work." Six months later, the CEO showed up just as promised. My client, whom I am proud to call my friend today, was thrilled. His strategy was so compelling that he received approval for a new scope. The CEO was so impressed that he singled out my client in the annual report as a Corporate Hero, for his insight and strategic vision. Over the next five years, the enterprise grew from $250 million in sales to $650 million with some minor tweaks along the way.

That assignment was my first in aerospace and was a thrilling experience. My client is now happily retired and we both fondly reflect upon those days of panic that led to a thrilling achievement. 'This story always reminds me that a fact-based strategy can lead to amazing results.'

Market Forces Analysis

In literature you may often see references to Market Forces Analysis, or PEST Analysis, or other version of strategically understanding trends shaping your business, your industry, your technology, and your competitiveness.

The key thing to remember is to run each trend that you identify to an actionable conclusion, by following a repeatable protocol of questions:

Attempt to drive every trend you think is real, to an action that you will take. The action may simply be to continue monitoring the trend for the remainder of the year, because a clear threat or opportunity has not yet emerged.