5 Steps to Creating a Unique Strategic Vision

tempToday, companies struggle to consistently increase sales and profits faster than the overall market.

In too many cases, these companies lack a unique strategic vision that would differentiate the company and its products and services from the competition.

Instead, their strategic vision is to do more – sell more products in more markets to more customers – and execute better than anyone else.

Strategy guru Michael Porter refers to this as the “Be the Best” Mindset.  This mindset generally leads to a zero sum competition where everybody is going after the same customers with the same undifferentiated products; but, at lower prices.  With this approach, everyone loses except the customer who now gets the same products and services at those lower prices.

To develop a true strategic vision, our companies must find a way to be unique.

  • How can we differentiate ourselves by meeting the different needs of our targeted customers in a way that is clearly superior to our competitors?

Below, I list five steps that all our companies should take to create that unique strategic vision.

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Three ‘Cheats’ of the Ethical Leader

tempAn ethical leader is someone dedicated to always doing the right thing for the employees, the business, and all stakeholders.  Alas, this ideal for the selfless and driven leader clashes with the reality of who most of us really are.

So, how do we, as flawed human beings, become the near perfect ethical leaders that we need to be to drive our businesses to success?

The answer is simple… we cheat.

We create sneaky tips, tricks, reminders or work arounds that help us to live up to the ideal of the ethical leader.   By following each of the three “cheats” below, we can all become more effective and more ethical leaders for our teams and in our businesses.

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We Need to Create Time For Our Teams

tempMany of us aspire to personally be as productive and effective as possible.  We read articles and blogs (including some of mine – How to Be 10X More Effective…) and take classes to learn how to get more done in less time.

Unfortunately, as leaders, this goal of personal productivity is the wrong goal to pursue.  Our goal needs to be:

How Can Our Overall Team Be More Productive and More Effective?

In helping make our teams more effective, we need to give them more time to do their jobs.  This means eliminating as much as possible all the distractions, noise, irrelevancies, and trivialities that cloud the mind and waste the time of our team members.

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The Power of Active Follow Up

triggersTo make change happen effectively (for our companies and for ourselves) requires daily attention and regular follow up.

People don’t get better without follow up.  So let’s get better at following up with our people.

 The quote above is from Marshall Goldsmith in his excellent book, Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts – Becoming the Person You Want to Be.

In the book, which I encourage you to read, Goldsmith offers insight into how we can be more effective and consistent in changing behaviors.

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5 Daily Behaviors for 2017

tempThe calendar says 2017.  Unfortunately, far too many of our leaders are leading as if it is 5, 10, 20, even 30 years ago.

Old-fashioned leadership and work styles and out dated, time consuming, and all but useless leadership behaviors are preventing many of our companies from moving forward to be competitive in today’s day and age.

To assist those of us still living in the past and to remind the rest of us, I offer up a list of five behaviors that leaders (and everyone else) can do to be more effective at getting things done and driving our teams and businesses to success.

I welcome your additions to this list.

 

  • Go Completely Paperless

    • With smartphones, I Pads, laptops, E-Mail, texting, and eDocument Signing, we should banish paper completely from our business.  The advantage is that now everything is stored, backed up, searchable, and accessible wherever we are.

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The One Thing

The One Thing - PictureIn their book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan suggest that a laser-like focus on the most important is essential to realizing success.

Since the book dovetails so closely to my views of simplify…eliminate…prioritize…focus, I recommend it highly.  Below, I give some quick notes on the key points found in the book.  But, I do encourage you to pick it up, read it, and follow its ideas.

  • We need to avoid the productivity myths and achievement lies so common today:
    • Everything matters equally
    • We can be good at multitasking
    • All it takes is self-discipline and willpower

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The ‘Crack Cocaine’ of Leadership

Ego cartoon 1Crack Cocaine has three distinguishing features:

  • It gives the user a short – lived, intense high
  • It is highly addictive
  • It inevitably leads to the user’s downfall

These exact three characteristics are found when business leaders feed their egos.

Let’s be honest, we all stroke our egos.

  • The anecdote or story we tell about how competently we did something or how wonderful we are
  • Those little extra comments we add to a conversation so that everyone knows that we are all wise and all knowing
  • The statements, pictures, and stories that we share with others that draws attention to ourselves as someone special…and better

As leaders, we get hooked on feeding our egos in order to enjoy the ego-boosting high that comes from thinking that we are great.

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