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Strategy Library

Strategy is tossed around pretty loosely these days, but we’re trying to lend some structure to those conversations. In this section, you will find helpful articles differentiating vision from mission, separating strategy creation from implementation, as well as other articles to help you create, sustain and execute your strategy.

Please check out the Featured Articles from our Strategy Library to get you started.

Are You Taking Steps to Get Ahead of the Next Disaster? | 12 Steps You Should Take Now.

The raging fires throughout Northern California now appear to be the worst fire disaster in California history.

It may seem like closing the barn door after the horse is gone, but now is a good time to consider what you can do to be better prepared for an unexpected disaster.

I know our friends, colleagues and clients in Santa Rosa and the wine country of Sonoma and Napa continue to suffer immeasurable pain and loss from the tragedy and devastation brought about by the raging fires in Northern California.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all of them, with best wishes for their personal safety and complete recovery from this unprecedented disaster.


Are You Ready?

Apart from calls to friends and family to make sure they’re safe, out of harm’s way and, hopefully, not facing property loss, the first thing I’ve heard from people everywhere is:

“Am I prepared if this happens to me?”


Continue to the Table of Contents & the Full Newsletter…

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“Learn-it-all” will always do better than “Know-it-all” … and a few tips on dealing with the tragedy of the NorCal fires

I know our friends, colleagues and clients in the wine country of Sonoma and Napa are reeling today from the tragedy and devastation brought about by the raging fires in Northern California, which at this moment, are still not under control.


FEMA offers a valuable article, After the Fire! Returning to Normal which may be helpful for those who are experiencing property loss. I also hope an article offering self-care strategies to cope with the emotional distress created by such tragedies, will bring comfort and solace to those afflicted.

A Few Ideas ….

This week, I’ve discovered some articles I want to share with you that touch upon some of the most fundamental challenges facing business leaders …

  • How to make sure you’re staying on top of what’s best for your organization,
  • Why strategy execution almost never happens,
  • Why people can’t get anything done in the office, and
  • Why the least likely suspect is spending more on employee benefits than product.

“Learn-It-All” Will Always Do Better Than “Know-It-All”


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Why You Should Care About Transparency? | 5 Tips to Get You Started

Are You Hoarding or Sharing Information?

More importantly, what does your team think you’re doing?

ARE YOU SHARING OR HOARDING INFORMATION?

When I began my business career in the 1970s, the word “transparency” was not in the business lexicon.

You knew what you were told … and you were told what someone thought you needed to know … but it was unlikely that you’d hear much about where the company was going or your role in it.

Prior to starting my own company in the early 1980’s, I can’t recall a single company-wide meeting at any of the companies where I worked … or any general discussion of the company’s performance or strategy.

IS THERE ANY DOUBT ABOUT THE POWER OF TRANSPARENCY?

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If You Want To Trash Your Brand … Here’s a Good Way To Do It

Any chance that you’re tone deaf? Maybe you should follow Paul McCartney’s example.

A brand anthem expresses to your customers the core values related to your brand and products, much like a vision statement expresses the core values of your company 


Are you trashing your Brand Anthem?

A few months back, I was sitting in an exceptionally beautiful church on Easter Sunday morning.

There were garlands of fresh daffodils and orchids draping the sanctuary.

Easter lilies were everywhere, consuming the floor of the chancel and the empty spaces on the altar rails. Small children were dressed in their Easter finery, sitting awkwardly in their new suits and dresses anxiously awaiting the Easter Egg hunt following the service.

Time for the Processional Hymn

Christians everywhere know that the hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” also starts the Easter service and marks the procession of ministers and laity down the aisle to the altar.

It is unarguably the best known Easter hymn, a holiday staple like O’ Little Town of Bethlehem, Joy to the World and other holiday songs at Christmas.

I pretty much know that Easter hymn by heart … sang it every year as a child … and can’t imagine an Easter service without it. Read What Happened to that Favorite Song

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Do You Have a Battle Strategy – or is Hope your only Strategy?

I’m pretty sure most of us missed the Crusades … and know very little of medieval warfare.


While battle strategy in that era appears to be random and haphazard, certainly in most movies depicting that period, planning invariably eclipsed brute force. Strategy proved to be the touchpoint for success in every battle, including the ones we’re fighting every day.



Using a Battlefield Metaphor May Seem a Bit Strong …

… yet, it’s perfectly apt for the complexity … and yes, often the intensity … of what we’re facing every day.

But, this concept is not really about military conquest. 

I use the reference more in the sense of this phrase:

“Civilians think about strategy. Generals think about logistics.”

D-Day Was Really ALL About Planning

Most of us weren’t around during World War II … but D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion of all time.

It involved over 250,000 troops and 15,000 ships landing along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast on June 6, 1944.

Luck?

Accident? … or the result of rigorous strategic planning and project management?

Could this happen without planning?

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower, (Our 34th President)

Did General Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander, lead this effort without any planning?

Of course not, and even if our business plans aren’t quite as extensive, we know (deep down, we know for sure) that we need some sort of an organized planning process to build a successful business.

Keep Reading to find the 4 Simple Reasons You Need a Plan

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Apply these 7 Criteria to Decide If You’ve Got a Great Idea … or a Dud

As a leader, you’re constantly evaluating  opportunities. Some come from careful planning, others simply fall from the sky. But no matter the source, there are always too many ideas and not enough time or resources.

So how do you decide which one’s worth pursuing … and which one will suck your time and get you nowhere???

How to differentiate between a Bright idea and a Lightning Bolt?

Let me offer 7 Ways to Differentiate between a Lightning Bolt and a Bright Idea, a set of criteria you can apply to sort through all of these opportunities and get rid of those that bring with them a massive storm system.

By applying these criteria thoughtfully, you’ll avoid wasted energy and failed opportunities, and be sure you’re applying your limited resources to the opportunities that will make the greatest contribution to your success.

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What Are You Doing to Grow Your Top Line?

Baseball season is in full swing, so it’s a good time to remember how great hitters get to the Hall of Fame.

It’s the same process you should use to focus on revenue enhancement, a fancy term for “get more sales”.

Get More At Bats - Exkalibur.com

There are some Simple Metrics to Measure Your Success

Most companies do a poor job of tracking Suspects and Prospects, but if you want to overcome that limitation, try these simple metrics to build a sales funnel that will help you quickly grow your top line.

Make getting more at bats  the cornerstone of your sales strategy.

5 Powerful Leadership Lessons from the Indianapolis 500

Our leadership prowess is always on the line but nowhere more powerfully than on the starting line at the Indy 500.

You’re all in, 24/7 for 365 days … with victory in a 33 car lineup about 3 hours away. Do you understand the leadership requirements to achieve victory where there is no do-over?

 

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades

On Sunday, May 28, 2017 … and with a spread of only 0.2011 seconds – yes, that’s about 2/10 of one second – Takuma Sato edged out Helio Castroneves who was trying to become only the 4th driver to win 4 times at the Indy 500. Sato is the first Japanese driver to win at Indy and earned his redemption from hitting the wall on the final lap in 2012.

I’ve been following this race for more than 50 years

For over 50+ years, I have listened to … and starting with the first live, same-day telecast in 1971 … watched the Indianapolis 500.

Every year.

Without fail.

What do I know about cars?

Nothing!

Really, I should say Absolutely Nothing!
Keep reading to learn the 5 Powerful Leadership Lessons from the Indy 500

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7 Simple Steps to Build Vital Flexibility into Your Company’s DNA

Over many years, I’ve racked my brain for the single word that represents THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE of a successful business.

Go ahead. Try it. What words come to mind?

Communication will probably cross your mind. Maybe AccountabilityLeadership or Culture … as well as personal characteristics like integrity, authenticity and so on.

Is it Possible to Find a Single Word That Can Save Your Business?

But when it comes to the one single guidepost that can save your business or cripple it, I always come back to the same word: FLEXIBILITY.

7 Simple Steps to Build Vital Flexibility into Your Company's DNA
In 7 Steps to Build Flexibility into Your Company’s DNA, I talk about all the times we’ve all needed a do-over … a mulligan … a makeover … just one more chance to do something over again so we get it right.

In our professional life, those “do-overs” are usually pretty costly … and much more costly when we fail to implement the flexibility that could have saved our bacon.

If you want to make sure you build FLEXIBILITY into your company’s DNA, these 7 steps will ensure it’s deeply embedded into your decision-making process … and give you the greatest possible chance to overcome uncertainty and build a successful business.

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4 Simple Ground Rules to Make Sure You Reach the Mountaintop

How often have you set an ambitious goal … but failed to achieve it?

There’s a good chance that you failed to create the timelines, milestones and deadlines to go along with it.

This Article Could Be About Many Things

Today is one of those occasions when I’m going to let you decide what this article is about.

Is it about resolve, our ability to persevere, to vigorously pursue an idea, uncover its value to our business and set out to relentlessly apply it?

Or, is it about execution, our ability to follow proven processes to implement sustainable change in our business?

Didn’t Mom Teach You to Take Small Steps?

We probably didn’t realize it at the time, but our Moms … and Dads, too … laid the groundwork for this lesson many moons ago.

Keep reading to learn the 4 Simple Ground Rules to Make Sure You Reach the Mountaintop …

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