Strategy or implementation, which one is my problem?

Last timeBalancing businessman we spoke about what Warren Buffet meant when he said "A rising tide floats all boats….. only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked."

When things are good everyone does OK but when things turn south many are exposed. The flip side is the sustainable businesses achieve their biggest gains during low tides as they win market share from the naked swimmers.

So what is the protection from low tide? Stating the obvious, it is quite simply good strategy and disciplined implementation. The harder question to answer is which one is at fault if things aren’t going well…

Too many times I have seen Business blame the strategy (and then continue to change it) when the implementation is the problem. This is akin to hearing someone divorced for the 10th time complain about their current partner.

On the other hand, stubbornly continuing down the same path because it ‘worked before’ can be dangerous. As Jim Collins writes in the ‘Good to Great’ book, one must confront the brutal facts.

So let’s start with strategy. How do you know your strategy is solid?

There are 3 components to this question:

  • Market (to whom are you selling)
  • Product/service (what are you offering)
  • Channel (how are you reaching them).

The reflection piece is how well matched are these in the year 2019. The match may have been made in heaven in previous years/decades but how well does the match serve you in 2019?

If you are a retail company the channel strategy used to be quite simple – open a store and start selling widgets. The stampede to online spending is not letting up, how effectively have you embraced this?

If you are an accounting practice, selling compliance services to small-medium businesses through your referral partners does not work anymore. What are you doing with your product to build in more value-added services?

If you are a construction company Residential is at low tide, Infrastructure still riding high and Commercial is somewhere in between. Who’s your target market over the next few years and what channels/relationships need to be developed if you want to start fishing in another pond?

Going back to the question, the year is 2019 and things are changing. People want different things and technology has changed behaviours. Further, we have a federal election, Banks have squeezed the credit supply and the China/US diplomatic manoeuvring is starting to have a real impact on some of our Industries.

How effective is your product/channel/market fit in light of all of this?

If you were to start a business now, would you set it up in the same way?

Tune in next time for some reflection questions around implementation.

Finally, we will be running a business breakfast workshop on this topic on Thursday May 23rd, click here for details.

Focus: Getting leaders out of the trenches. Leaders who don’t have time to lead are a common feature of growing businesses. Ivan can fix that.

1 Comment

  1. […] Last time we spoke about the importance of identifying whether strategy or implementation is at fault if the lowering tide has exposed the naked swimmer in your Business (in Warren Buffet's words). […]

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