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Denise Lee Yohn - Brand as Business™ Brief

09.04.12 vol 049

Hello Friends and Colleagues!

Has strategic planning become an outdated, impractical business process?

It seems so, according to research highlighted in a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article. Nearly 90% of executives reported that their companies develop strategic plans on an annual basis, regardless of the actual pace of change in their business environments – or even what they perceive it to be.  Pretty unbelievable, doncha think?!

This brief provides some perspectives on the issue:

-  Execution IS Strategy -- a guest post of mine about how execution is actually becoming strategy – and how we should focus on strategic decision-making more than strategic planning.

-  Keep Strategy Simple -- the best bits from HBR’s Spotlight on Strategy

I’d love to hear your perspective on strategic planning – the good, the bad, and most importantly the results -- please reach out!


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Execution IS Strategy

The more I work with companies on their toughest challenges, the more I’m becoming convinced that the delineation between strategy and execution is becoming irrelevant. It no longer makes sense to separate the value of strategy from the value of execution.

Given the increasing rate of change, as well as the degree of disruption in today’s business, a company’s ability to anticipate and react to market forces must be inextricably linked. Instead of thinking about choosing a path (strategy) and then following that path (execution), companies need to be focused on strategically adapting to and excelling on whatever path they find themselves on.

This way, execution is actually becoming strategy. Superior operational execution is a strategic advantage to be planned and pursued.

The requirements that characterize this new way of doing business include:

-  focusing more on the right people, less on the right plan
-  replacing strategic planning with strategic decision-making
-  instilling a culture of discipline, action, and results

read the post (guest post on the blog of my partner, Bulldog Drummond)

Keep Strategy Simple

Harvard Business Review’s September issue included several articles about strategy.  Most of the pieces made strategy sound more complex than it needs to be.  But there were several gems worth noting:

Make strategy about choices not about issues.
from “Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy
"Conventional strategic planning…tends to focus on issues, such as declining profits or market share.  As long as this is the case, the organization will fall into the trap of investigating data related to the issues rather than exploring and testing possible solutions…[By defining] two mutually exclusive options that could resolve the issue in question…your analysis and emotions will focus on what you have to do next.”

Use simple rules for managing strategic bottlenecks.
from “Simple Rules for a Complex World
“Simple rules represent the beating heart of strategy.”  For example, a team developed simple rules for capital expenditures -- proposals had to:
-  remove obstacles to growing revenues
-  minimize up-front expenditure
-  provide benefits immediately (vs. long term)
-  reuse existing resources
The rules helped people avoid the paralysis that often strikes when they’re confronted with too many alternatives.

Align your strategic style with your industry’s predictability and malleability.
from “Your Strategy Needs a Strategy
“How you set your strategy constrains the kind of strategy you develop.”  First determine how predictable your industry is (how far into the future and how accurately can you forecast demand, competition, and other factors) and how malleable it is (to what extent can you or your competitors influence those factors).  Then adopt one of four strategic styles:  classical, adaptive, shaping, or visionary.


Service Spotlight: Brand Platform

Like a political platform, a strategic brand platform explains what you believe and what you plan to accomplish.  Your brand platform can serve as your company’s figurative GPS -- driving what the company does and how it does it.

To craft your brand platform, I will engage an iterative and inclusive process, leading a team of your key stakeholders to articulate your brand identity and competitive brand positioning

The outcome?  Everyone who works on your brand shares one clear, consistent, common understanding of what your brand stands for and how it competes – so you can execute better and faster

Download an overview and contact me to learn how a Brand Platform can focus and align your organization.

Check out other ways I help companies achieve their brand and business objectives.

  In This Issue
What is Denise Doing?
  • gearing up for a series of speaking engagements – first up:  “What Great Brands Do” at DineAmerica

  • getting lots of calls from journalists to talk about fast food advertising targeted to stonerslisten to my interview on CBC Radio.

  • launching a new free resource, How to Build a Breakthrough Brand – a series of 10 videos and worksheets – check out the first release
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Denise Lee Yohn has been inspiring and teaching companies how to operationalize their brands to grow their businesses for over 20 years. World-class brands including Sony, Frito-Lay, Burger King, and Nautica have called on Denise, an established speaker, author, and consulting partner. For more information, visit www.deniseleeyohn.com
Denise Lee Yohn

denise lee yohn, inc.
917-446-9325  |  @deniseleeyohn
mail@deniseleeyohn.com  |  www.deniseleeyohn.com