SWOT’s “So what?”

March 25, 2011

How often have you and your colleagues completed a SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and asked, “So what?” What did you actually do with it? Too often SWOT Analysis become a “check-the-box”; exercise, adding little or no value to your business planning efforts. I’ve created a sequence of three steps to go from SWOT Analysis to strategy. Step…

Strategic Thinking: A New Lens

March 18, 2011

Listen to my conversation on Forbes.com on how strategic thinking creates a new lens to view your business. Find interviews with Small Business experts on the Small Business Advocate show.

Increase Your Costs…Really

March 11, 2011

While competitors are looking to cut costs, you should be thinking about where to increase them. Listen below to my interview from Forbes.com for more. Find interviews with Small Business experts on the Small Business Advocate show.


March 4, 2011

An article entitled “As Big Boxes Shrink, They Also Rethink,” was published this week in the Wall Street Journal describing the move by retailers to downsize stores. Perhaps the need to rethink wouldn’t be so significant now if they had taken the time to actually think in the first place. One of the surest signs of a strategy-less organization is…

Book Smart…or Not So Smart

February 25, 2011

Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week (“Borders Begins a New Chapter…11“). The reasons ranged from price battles with internet retailers like Amazon.com to carrying too much debt. But the real problem was a lack of strategy. Like so many other companies that experience early success and then falter, Borders failed to evolve their strategy over time based…

“Dear Strategy Guy”

February 16, 2011

February’s combination of snowdrifts and Valentine’s Day seems like the appropriate time to respond to some of the most pressing reader letters regarding strategy. So here goes: Dear Strategy Guy: The SVP of our Division requires us to fill out a 40-slide PowerPoint template, which we then turn into a 20-page written strategic plan. Problem is, the plan basically sits…

Are You Competitive?

February 7, 2011

Are you outperforming your competition? If an avalanche of excuses is the first thing that comes to mind, then the answer is most likely no. When it comes to market share, revenue, profits, new sales, or other key metrics, at some point your level of competitiveness must be honestly assessed. A Wall Street Journal article reported cellphone maker Nokia’s quarterly…

The Discomfort of Strategy

January 21, 2011

“If you are not genuinely pained by the risk involved in your strategic choices, it’s not much of a strategy.” Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix Think you have a tough group of competitors to deal with? Take a look at this list and see if you’d like to trade: Walmart, Amazon, Blockbuster and Apple. Any takers? So how does one…

Strategic Thinking and Sales: Always Be Strategic

January 14, 2011

“We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.” Alec Baldwin in the film Glengarry Glen Ross David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross is a raw account of the…

Chief Learning Officer Magazine and Strategic Thinking

January 3, 2011

For the December issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine, I had the privilege of writing an article entitled “Triple-A Thinking,” which provided an overview of the three disciplines of strategic thinking: Acumen, Allocation and Action. I use the word “discipline” as it relates to strategic thinking because as Michael Porter of Harvard Business School once wrote, “Strategic thinking rarely occurs…