Monday, August 31, 2009

Deep Dive - Building Strategy

I have now had 4 weeks off. I find I am still quite busy. This busyness might be getting in the way of my reflection time. I need to heed Ernest Hemingway's "Never confuse movement with action" - or put another way - be effective in activity - not just active.

I am helping a friend buy a business and sell another one. Interesting negotiations and perfect for my skill set. Although it is not full time, it will take up 20-30 days before it is done. This week I traveled for 3 days on that project.

I also have a few speaking events or seminars on Time Management, Negotiations and leadership which will take up another 4 days.

I had originally planned on spending 3 months to reflect and plan my next steps. I am now thinking it will take longer than that. At the very least, I need to add the days I work to that. So if I work 20 days, I need to add another month to my "reflection" period.

I am still working of success habits during this time.

I read a great book by Rich Horwath on strategy called Deep Dive - The Proven Method for Building Strategy, Focusing Your Resources, and Taking Smart Action.

Strategy is one of my strengths. I study it. My current situation is all about deciding my personal strategy so the book resonates with me now.

The book uses a diver (like scuba diver) analogy. In order to devise great strategy, a good leader needs to dive deep to see what is really there.

There is a section on time management which of course I loved. One of the challenges most organizations have is not spending enough time to do strategy right. "That business purpose and the business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the most important cause of frustration and business failure" Peter Drucker.

And once strategy is set, resources need to be appropriately assigned to get the desired result. Time is, of course, the biggest resource.

The book talks about focus (ties in well to the recent review I did on the Ries branding book as they are also big believers in focus). Many companies try to be all things to all people. Not a good strategy.

The book has 10 Strategic Thinking Skills including such things as competitive advantage(the book refers to this as the Holy Grail of strategy), context, Innovation, modeling etc.

Great strategists continually look at what they are doing that to competition is not. At the same time looking to see if those differences are valued.

The three disciplines of strategic thinking are Acumen, Allocation and Action.

For strategy to work, it needs great tactics. So part of my strategy is to always surround myself with a great team that can execute well.

Strategic thinking rarely occurs spontaneously - Michael Porter

Other Books I have read this week:

Winning the Oil Endgame - Innovation for Profit, Jobs and Security. Optimistic book on the future of energy. It can be downloaded for free. I wrote a Review on Amazon. I need votes on my reviews there if you have a moment.

Drawing on Brilliance is a coffee table type book on patents and inventions. My Amazon review is here.


At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Mike Rogers said...

Thanks for your post Jim. Organizations, departments and teams do a very poor job at strategizing, let alone executing. My experience has shown they try to do too much. Focusing on a few things is much more productive than focusing on say 10 things. If everything is important, nothing will be important. There are lessons in this on time management as well.

At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Business Communications Training said...

Sounds like a good book! When people want better Time Management, they do not realize they they are actually asking for Time Management Motivation. I would like to check out this book's take on this topic.

At 6:40 PM, Blogger FRANCESCA said...

Great post- so much here.

"companies try to be all things to all people"- my mind immediately headed straight to Martha Stewart how she cornered the home/garden market radiating out but still keeping the main focus ( house/home) under the same unbrella.

Impressed with the amount of reading you do and the generous review sharing.Thank you.

Diving deep to see what's really there - so true, so true. Wish I'd read that long ago before buying Nortel. I was new @ it, didn't investigate and went for the name - yes, a very stupid thing to do - but we learn from our errors and move on.:)

At 2:15 PM, Blogger The Naturals Band Vintage Rhythm and Blues said...

Tom Herbert
I am reading Storm Rider by Rich Horwath. I like is reference to Michael Porter's Competive Forces. He put a pecent calculation for the Probability of Competitor Matching ....

Good stuff

At 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant information! Will you follow up on this specific subject?


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