“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.” - Emil Chartier
Rhythm Blog | Strategic Planning
by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team
Regardless of size, all businesses require strategic thinking to grow. Many leaders consider strategic thinking (and the subsequent execution of their strategic plan) as one of the most challenging leadership tasks. So many times, though, leaders confuse strategic thinking and strategic planning with being tactical and task-oriented.
While strategic thinking involves these two principles, it is not restricted to them. Rather, strategic thinking is the process of thinking, planning, and doing the work that will lead your company toward your preferred future.
There’s a chain reaction at the root of most organizational chaos. The catalyst is lack of focus. Without a clear definition of what’s most important, people (including leaders) don’t understand what deserves attention or why. Instead, people operate based on a multitude of assumptions about what they think is most important. When this happens in a company, the default mode is to react to what’s going on at any given moment on any given day. Without discipline, every opportunity is a shiny object to be chased—and trust me, there will always be plenty of bright shiny objects to reach for.
I recently re-read the HBR article entitled "Building Your Company's Vision" by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, and I was struck by the great examples they gave to illustrate different types of Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). If you are struggling to come up with a BHAG for the first time, these examples might help you get started. These may also be helpful if you are working with your team to reset after accomplishing your 10-25 year visionary goal. Don't let your team fall into the trap of complacency after reaching the mountaintop of one BHAG; celebrate your success, and then reset. Having a long term, visionary goal that aligns your team and gets everyone excited is the only way your company will continue to grow with purpose, reaching peak after peak of success.
Strategy without Tactics is the slowest route to victory.
Tactics without Strategy is the noise before the defeat.
- Sun Tzu
Do you ever wonder why all those great plans you create don’t really come to full fruition? What happens? Where did all those great ideas go? Why did one or two of them do okay, but the rest of them just didn’t ever evolve?
This is exactly why Rhythm was created! Fast growth causes far too many problems.
I was reading the news on my lunch break today, and I was shocked to find out that Nasty Gal, formerly a vintage store on eBay transformed into a multi-million dollar online retailer, was bankrupt! WHAT?? What could have happened? I was intrigued because the founder, Sophia Amoruso, was a Spotlight Speaker at HubSpot’s Inbound15 that I attended. At the time, she was the fastest growing online retailer in the country! Her whole story is just so interesting. She came from nothing. She had a creative vision and built a brand that was popular with millennials. She caught the attention of Silicon Valley, Forbes named her “Fashion’s New Phenom,” and she even wrote a book, #GIRLBOSS.
Our marketing team agreed that we needed more videos on our website at our Q3 planning session in 2016. As you know, being Red or Yellow on a priority is not an option. So, we needed to find the best solutions for our decision to get this done.
After reading the blog “Why you need to focus on Video Marketing in 2017” – I knew we had made the right strategic decision. So, I thought I would share 3 different ways we were able to get excellent videos.
I have this great book I picked up ten or so years ago titledThe Book of Entrepreneurial Wisdom edited by Peter Krass. It is full of short excerpts from some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. I pick it up from time to time when I need a bit of inspiration. This time, I turned to the chapter Richard Branson wrote on “Risk Taking.” I have long been a fan of Sir Richard and the approach he takes to life and business. I thought I would summarize the key points he makes. Richard Branson has won on a lot of the bets he has made and lost on a few as well. One thing for sure, he is not afraid to take risks, and he has a strategy for how he goes about it.
I recently worked with an executive team who had just gotten an incredible new account. Once the excitement settled in, they realized how crucial it was for them to begin to demonstrate their competence and expertise. It was, in their eyes, what would put them on the map relative to their future growth goals.
To me, their opportunity was to solidify their brand. They said they really hadn’t thought of it that way. While they should have been working to build their brand anyway (which to a point they had been) they never looked at their organization as a “Brand.”
I have helped many companies identify their core competencies through the years, and doing this can really make a difference in the products or services you provide to your customer. Core competence is a concept introduced by C.K. Prahalad, professor at the University of Michigan, and Gary Hamel, management expert and founder of Strategos. They define it as “a harmonized combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace.”