Strategy Isn’t Tactics

Strategy isn’t about starting from today and going forward into the future.  It’s about defining the future you want and working backwards from it to determine how you’re going to get there.  If instead you begin with where you are today and plan to make improvements going forward, what you’re doing isn’t strategic.   It’s operational.  It’s all about tactics and incremental improvement to try to be competitive. 

The best companies don’t want to be competitive, they want to be leading the competition – to be distinctive, to have an edge that provides significant value for their customers, and to make it sustainable so that it cannot be easily replicated. 

So, if you start with something you call ‘strategy’ but which is really operational improvement, you’re simply trying to be competitive –like everyone else.

Why not take the opportunity to think more broadly about your business – to think strategically, and develop a strategy that makes you distinctive, not just competitive.

Copyright 2018  Bob Legge

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 I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value. 

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.

My website is here

Contact me at:  bob@boblegge.com

Are You Discovering Enough Strategic Insights?

Nearly every company has experienced a period of prolonged financial difficulty. Growth does not occur in a straight line, but rather in a series of growth curves similar to product lifecycle curves where growth accelerates, then slows and levels off.

The challenge is to anticipate the slow-down and get onto a new growth curve before the plateau. Once on a plateau, it is difficult to see a new growth curve. Better to anticipate it first.

But what causes a growth curve to slow in the first place? The vast majority of growth plateaus or stall points are caused not by economic downturns, but rather by poor strategic choices the most prevalent of which is continuing to ride one strategy as if it will last a long time, and getting solely focused on day-to-day operations. When that happens you get blind-sided by market disruptions caused by market or technical innovations or entirely new business models.

It is the responsibility of leaders and executives to take the lead in thinking strategically about the business. The best companies implement an ongoing strategic process to continually surface strategic insights on a regular basis. It’s not a once-a-year event, but rather a disciplined and regular focus. Monthly is good. Amazon does it weekly.

That is the way to spot early-on impending growth slow-downs, plateaus, and stall-points.

What is your process for continually surfacing strategic insights? Are you able to make adjustments to business strategy, not just operational decisions? How good are your strategic thinking skills, and are you continually sharpening them?

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.
My website is http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob@boblegge.com

Learning to Think Strategically

Newly-promoted executives face a number of significant challenges as they adapt to an executive role. One of the most significant is the ability to think strategically.

In my 30 years of working with executives, it is rare that a new executive has that skill. Even among executives with years of experience relatively few are good at thinking strategically because they have built their careers on being good at operations.

Of course, operational excellence is extremely important, but so is keeping an eye on the external environment and that is a key role for any executive.

My point: Relatively few executives are skilled in thinking strategically.

The ability to think strategically is important for the entire management team, not just the top leader. You need all executives to develop strategic insights from their various perspectives and disciplines as input to business strategy.

Are you providing your executive team with development programs aimed at honing strategic thinking skills?

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.
My website is http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob@boblegge.com

The First Key to Exponential Growth

If you want exponential growth, you need to have a very clear picture of the business you want to have in the future: What will you be providing? Who will be the customers? How big will the company be? What will be your role? It’s called ‘having a vision.’ It’s not enough to be obsessed with more revenue, fewer problems and more profits. That’s being stuck in the day-to-day. You must think bigger.

Some leaders don’t have such a vision, and that’s a problem. But it’s nearly as bad when the leader does have a vision, but only shares it with key people and the vision never gets communicated to people who sell to customers, make the products, deliver the services, and make things happen on the frontline. If they don’t know where you want to take your company, how can they help make it happen?

If you want growth, you must have a vision, and you also do three other things: First, articulate it simply. Second, communicate throughout your organization as well as to your board, investors, customers, vendors, and any other key stakeholders. Get everyone on the same page. Third, reinforce it with rewards for your people.

This is not as easy as it may sound, particularly for your own business. It can be extremely helpful to have an advisor who can work with you to develop the vision and make it simple and effective.

How clearly have you developed and communicated your vision?

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

 

Is Your Strategy Sustainable?

Business strategy is all about having a distinctive position in your market, and making that distinctiveness sustainable.

A distinctiveness that can be easily replicated is not a good strategy. Companies build sustainable strategies by bundling organizational competencies around their distinctiveness. K-Mart tried hard to copy what WalMart does and several airlines have tried and failed to replicate Southwest Airlines’ success. It’s not that the strategies are difficult, but implementing and executing those strategies requires alignment of organizational capabilities, people skills, culture, workflows and the way they manage people and use technology.

In short, a sustainable strategy is reflected in the entire way the company does business, not just product or service offerings. A key competitive advantage is how well a company performs as a whole – and that can be exceedingly difficult to copy, and very profitable.

How are you making your strategy and its execution sustainable and difficult to replicate?

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

What’s Your Niche?

To grow your business and improve profits stop thinking of your company as one of many competitors in a broad market, and define a narrower market niche to focus on. Pick a niche that you can dominate as one of the top competitors. Panera has done this using technology to provide choice and rapid response with good food. Sydor Optics has done this by concentrating on flat optics. Burton Snowboards have achieved a dominant position in their niche.

Choose a niche – one you can dominate. What is your niche?

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

Operating at the CEO Level

The CEO has the responsibility to think strategically about the company and its business. This is a two-fold challenge: The first part is to extricate yourself from day-to-day tactics, problems and tasks. This is often a difficult challenge for CEOs. The second part is to learn how to think strategically about your company. This includes its position in the market, what makes it distinctive, what the business must focus on, and equally as important, what it must not be doing.

This is what’s meant by ‘working on the business, instead of in the business.’

Many CEOs I’ve worked with find this a real challenge because they are used to solving problems, fire-fighting, and being the person with all the answers. But to be a CEO, you must stop doing those things and operate at the level of a CEO.

Are you fully operating at the level your position calls for? If not, what would it take for you to get there?

Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
___________________________
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
Contact him at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.