Diagnosis in a Time of Uncertainty Building your External Diagnosis Map
When markets and supply chains and political systems are stable, there’s leeway to take risks and experiment. But during volatility, the safety net is gone - a few mistakes and you face wipe-out. This is a time to be thorough and cautious, to adopt a structured empirical approach to diagnosis and strategy. Good leaders ask questions like, What is happening? Why? What might happen in the future? What might we do about it?
Jack Welch, legendary CEO of General Electric, once said “When the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” Scary words for the times we are in now! But what if you were able to assess the rate of change outside, and then apply your understanding to adjust the inside to navigate the outside? Flying blind in turbulent conditions is a nightmare scenario, obviously, but if you’re able to measure the turbulence and anticipate future disruptions, you can plot a flight path and complete your journey. How can companies measure turbulence? It starts with building an External Diagnosis Map to visualise the external impacts on your business.
Accelerating Growth from the Sweet Spot
The CEOs job is to make good choices. The choices about what market and product categories to compete in can be the hardest.
Transform or Die: The Growth Transformer's Roadmap
We live in an era of opportunity. The rules for how we lead our businesses are being rewritten. Some companies are transforming growth. However, others are stuck in neutral or at a crossroads. Their leadership teams are frustrated tired of detours and dead-ends. Many are ambitious with good options. Others face a burning platform where there is a threat to their business's very existence. In most cases, the road forward is blocked by the relentless urgency of the day-to-day.
How small experiments transform business growth
Uber, Netflix or Amazon. Love or loathe these ‘newer’ companies, they are transforming industries. The decisions they face are uncertain and risky. However, they seem to get more right than wrong.
Unlike companies who weep at wasted six figure sums, these ‘newer’ companies succeed in using small, dirty but disciplined experiments to make better decisions. Implementing experimentation is tricky but the benefits are transformative.
Three steps to more referrals
Companies go to great lengths with sophisticated marketing campaigns offline and online. Yet many buying decisions and new relationships are made through referrals. Most companies don't manage this in a structured way. Through structure and discipline, it is possible to win more sweet spot business, more cost effectively.
Plan your market entry or you may find your Waterloo!
When Napoleon Bonaparte said "Victory belongs to the most persevering" he might well have been talking about the constrasting fortunes of companies entering new markets. The statistics are stark - for every successful market entry, about four fail.
So what are the 'battles' in market entry and how can you beat the odds?
How Zappos Used Customer Experimentation to Drive Growth
When Nick Swinmurn founded online shoe store Zappos in 1999, he could have invested in market research, a 'wow' website and warehouse logistics, like many of his dot-com contemporaries. He could also have crafted a business plan with hockey stick projections to hook an investor. Yet he took a different approach...
Getting your story straight - not so innocent!
There are two sides to messaging: creating and delivering. Message creation is crucial - you have to nail what makes you different to your competitors and explain it in clear, engaging terms. But in our experience, although message creation is hard, where a lot of companies fall down isn't creation, but delivery.
Show me the money!
Many companies don't measure their value in quantifiable terms, but instead make unsubstantiated claims for their product or service. If you want to grow your business, build a repeatable process for measuring the value which you create - i.e. how much money you make or save the customer.
Hitting the Sweet Spot
Your sweet spot is where your target customers' needs fit with what's special about your product or service. You will waste time and valuable resources on the wrong customers if you don't clarify your sweet spot.