Stradigo

Categories
Customer Strategy

5.03 Customer Segmentation

Stradigo

Customer Segmentation — 5.03

Share this blog

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

Today’s topic is customer segmentation. Do you know what the definition of work is? Work is about removing people’s troubles and worries. These people are called customers. Customers’ have different types of worries, because everyone is an individual. It would be easy if we could sell the same product to everyone! Then we could specialize only in one service or product. What could we do to get efficiency into our work? The answer, of course, is by segmenting customers into groups!

I have been doing segmentation work ever since 1996. For 11 years it was a full-time job for me, and now I create strategies. The goal of almost every strategy is to improve the organization’s segmentation and customer experience. I have a great desire to simplify complexity, and over the years it has become my passion. Now I will explain how customer segmentation can be simplified and how it can even be made into an art.

Why segment customers?

A group of people standing on a blue circle. Some of the people are cheering, representing sensing customer’s worries and responding.

Precision offerings. Why should customers be segmented? They need to be given an offer that tackles their need specifically. When the offer strikes the customer’s worry and need exactly, things run smoothly. I use the word worry, because the need is the answer. The customer has a worry, and we satisfy the need by providing a solution. The customer is happy that we got rid of their worry, and therefore they thank us by paying us.

More sales. Another dimension is, of course, our self-interest. We want more sales, because that’s the way our company grows. It is also the way we are able to pay everyone’s salaries. The more customers we are able to help, the better we have carried out our purpose. It isn’t necessarily only about sharing dividends to the shareholders. It’s about growing sales, helping customers, which is a fine societal task – You could even say our duty.

Better profitability. When we finally know how to compose offerings that tackle the customer’s need with precision, we can then make the whole process more fluent and profitable for ourselves. This creates a win-win situation between us and the customer. We both benefit a great deal from it.

Customer segmentation pyramid with bronze, silver & gold levels and two segments. Segments represent customer needs.

Value for us. The customer base is often visualized as a pyramid. I have for many years simplified this work. Customers can be divided into groups according to their importance: Gold-Silver-Bronze, for example. To us, certain customers are Gold-customers, Silver-customers, or Bronze-customers. The trick is to divide the customers into these groups, based on how valuable they are to us in a monetary sense.

During a flight safety demonstration, it is mentioned that the oxygen mask should be put on yourself before helping others. If we don’t stay alive, we’re not capable of helping others. That’s why our self-interest comes first.

Customer needs. Another way to divide customers according to a customer dimension, in which customers are segmented based to their needs, which I earlier described as worries. This creates a segmentation model. I’ve learned not to make things too complicated!

Back in the day, we made a mistake by making the segments too detailed and intelligent in appearance. Because of this our customers weren’t able to implement the model. In the previous pyramid image, we divide it into six segments. For some companies even a six-way split can be a lot! A division by two vertical segments are usually a pretty good, sometimes three works as well. The next image has examples of various ways a company can segment its pyramid.

Different types of customer segmentations. Variations between bronze, silver and gold customers.

Some companies may only have one segment, where every customer has the same needs. In addition, there are three value categories, and several varieties of them. Segmentation is often done intuitively, and after a moment of thinking the solution turns out to be completely different. It isn’t easy-peasy.

One option is to have one Gold-customer, all the rest being Bronze-customers. It’s also possible to have no Gold-customers. Services and offerings are usually tailored to them. Usually, consumer businesses only have Bronze-customers. For instance, McDonalds only has one type of customers. They have different products, but they deliver the same way to everyone.

After 10 years of doing this for a living, I decided to buy a marketing automation software. It taught me not to segment companies, but individuals. My head just about exploded!

Could it be, that even in B2B customer relationships selling should be aimed at individuals, persons, avatars? That’s human-to-human business. Suddenly, segmenting became even more interesting, but also more challenging. Which model would bring the most success?

Different types of customer segmentations. Variations between bronze, silver and gold customers.

Drawing the above image took me 10 years. I often tried to explain this verbally, but I didn’t know how to describe it as an image. Then finally I succeeded! This image shows which products and services we sell to different segments.

There exists a basic model offer, that is grey and can fit for any customer. Then there is a white offer or service, which fits the first segment. The blue module only fits only the second segment, and those customers don’t want the white one.

When we rise to the Silver level, we can begin to tailor our services, because these customers buy more and they pay more. That’s why they can also be offered silver modules. Modules can be sold separately or they can be bundled into an offer. Some want solutions, others want to purchase the modules separately.

Gold level customers can be sold everything, in addition to a tailored gold module.

Care models.  On the right side of the image you can find the care models. There are many Bronze-customers, and they buy less. Bronze-customers need to have a well standardized care model, in order to optimize our service and to lower our costs. Nowadays these often are online businesses. As we go up to the Silver level, the care model consist of more tailored services and F2F communication. Gold-customers have a largely custom tailored care model.

Segmentation model. The catch is to do segmentation in two dimensions. Value for us and value for the customer. Products are built so that the customer gets an offer that precisely tackles their situation. Precision products are delivered with a care model, which are differentiated to varying degrees of extent.

As you see, this isn’t the easiest job in the world. I can, however, say that this is the simplest presentation I’m able to produce about this! The most challenging thing is to build the products. That is something that makes me humble, every time!

As many as seven versions are created in segmentation work before the iteration begins to slow down. There are so many options to choose from. If you segment like your competitors, you end up analyzing similar needs and services as them. If we look at this from a differentiation angle, it would be really good if you could group the entire cake according to specific criteria.

Precision offering is the trick. It creates happy customers who buy more, while our company grows and the work becomes more profitable.

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Leadership

2.05 Agile Hybrid Organization

Stradigo

Agile Hybrid Organization | 2.05

We held an amazing workshop online, and I’m so excited about it. We modified the strategies from the perspective of an individual and from a customer perspective. We came to a realization that we are building an agile hybrid organization. I need to share this with you. 

This image below is our old friend, the hierarchical organization. This style of hierarchy is not doing very well in the present day. Even though it has immensely good features, it also has great weaknesses.

Drawing of an organizational chart with three levels. The number of boxes per level is 1, 3 and 7.

Hierarchichal organization

It’s interesting, that in a hierarchical organization everything needs to be flipped upside down every 3-4 years. A new CEO comes in and decides that things should be done the other way around, with the reason that the other way is “as it should be done”. Then after a while the same pattern repeats.

I have gained experience in this subject. No matter which organization model one creates, in a few years the cons grow bigger and the strenghts are no longer as strong as in the beginning. Because of this the model needs to be changed once again, which the CEO thinks is the biggest innovation. Sometimes the organization is organized into a matrix organisation, at other times the organization gets organized according to functions. It can also be something else, depends on what the CEO wants. That’s everyday life.

Let’s look at why the hierarchical organization is doing poorly.

Drawing of an organizational chart. Accompanied by text: “Slow in action, expensive to upkeep, often demotivating, less profitable”

Hierarchy is slow in action

The main reason why hierarchical organizations are doing poorly is that they are slow organizations. The slowness comes from this. If I have a problem, I need to ask upstairs for permission. The bigger the issue, the higher up the person needs to go in the organization to get permission. If the issue goes flat, the response never comes back down. Decisions aren’t being made. Instead, the issue is left hanging in the air waiting for the next meeting. This causes the customer to suffer, because decisions are not made. Many draw the above model upside-down, so that customers are on top and the management are on the bottom. However, it’s only a semantic change. A hierarchical organization is slow, and doesn’t tend to cope well with the competition, who oftentimes are much faster to react and to decide. A better meeting structure could help.

Less profitable

Another problem with the hierarchical organization is that it’s less profitable. Say what? Exactly. When matters are sustainable, profitability decreases. Lead time isn’t fast enough and the inventory doesn’t move. Surprise, surprise! Higher profitability models exist! Profitability is everyone’s advantage because salaries will continue being paid, customers are number one and the customers are happy. The owners, as well, tend to get more dividends because the company earns more money, which it doesn’t know how to invest properly, so the money is returned to the investors and owners as larger dividends.

Expensive to upkeep

The third problem is that the hierarchical organization is also expensive to upkeep. People need to be controlled and a huge amount of key performance indicators are created. What can’t be measured, doesn’t exist. Reward systems need to be looked at through the indicators, and that’s expensive. As you may guess, controlling costs money. That’s oversight in a nutshell. The more that needs to be measured, the more control measures need to be deployed, and that adds to costs. Simple, right?

Demotivating

The fourth problem is on an emotional level. The hierarchical organization is often demotivating. People don’t like having to wait and not being allowed to do what’s reasonable.

But, a hierarchy has its advantages.

Drawing of an organizational chart. Accompanied by text: “Clear! Good in crisis, measure of success”
Clear

First of all, it’s really clear and people desire clarity! People know exactly who’s where and who’s in charge of what.

Good in crisis

Hierarchy is fantastic in a crisis situation. You give orders, and that’s that. That’s pretty amazing. This ability can’t be lost! If it’s lost, we lose a lot.

Measure of success

To many individuals, hierarchy is also the measure of success. If I go high up in the hierarchy, it’s pretty motivating, almost like winning an Olympic medal.

Drawing of different teams that discuss with each other and share information.

Teams discuss and decide

Another organizational extremity is not to have a hierarchy at all. Instead, a team organization is created, where people are completely self-managing. This has already been in use since the 1950s. It works! However, it needs common ground rules, a Game Book, so that things aren’t going all over the place.

Text: “What if the models were combined?”

Quite many are scared to switch into a complete self-managing model. The word self-managing is in itself pretty bad. A business owner easily gets scared that people will just start doing whatever they want.

Visions of organization

Visions of organization matrix from Perttu Salovaara’s PhD.

I found the above image in Perttu Salovaara’s PhD Thesis. He named the image “Visions of organization”. It has two axis, co-operation and leadership. There’s not too much co-operation on the bottom level, only individualism. Co-operation begins in the middle, in teams, and spreads up to the top level.

The leadership axis has three stages. Is leadership completely top-down and lead from the outside? Or, is it involving, or are people given permission to self-manage? Salovaara came up with nine models. It’s a good image because the myriad of possibilities are made clear. It’s not so, that the next step from a total hierarchy is a total self-managing model. There’s so much in between!

At Stradigo, we consider simplification as part of our organizational DNA. I’ve wondered if Salovaara’s MATRIX could be simplified. That’s when the idea of an agile hybrid organization model struck me. What if we built a hybrid, in which hierarchy and team leading are combined?

Drawing of a hybrid organization that has an organizational hierarchy in the background and smaller dynamic teams in front of the hierarchy.

Agile hybrid organization

Let’s build an agile hybrid organization with self-managing teams. The hierarchical organization stays in the background. That’s when we have a spine and agile teams. Teams are where most of the work is done. Teams come and go, as necessary. The home team, of course, is where one works the most, but in addition to that, there are many other teams one is a part of. They are on top of the hierarchy.

In a world like this, it isn’t important to communicate through the hierarchy. Anyone can speak to whom they like without the manager getting upset. Please, don’t get upset! People must trust themself and their leadership skills in order to not mind this taking place, that is, if their boss chooses to go past you, for example, by talking directly with your subordinates. The decision is made where the best information is.

When I presented this idea at one of my clients, the idea immediately got a round of applause. The agile hybrid organization model is therefore a most natural thing! People said that, yes, this is how it is, this is already how we operate. So, let’s make it formal! Let’s make the organization both clear and agile!

explaining hybrid organization

Now quick decisions can be made where the information is. When hierarchy retreats into the background, but doesn’t fade, and people are allowed to do what’s reasonable, a level of autonomy is created that is strongly motivating. Control improves, because the team members control each other, so that the team makes reasonable decisions.

As a young man I used to work at Nokia Electronics. No-one knew in which direction the world was going, as the new area of business was developing rapidly. A “Let all flowers bloom” culture spread throughout the company, yet there was a hierarchy, and it was in the background. It didn’t interfere with practicalities.

Simple drawing of seven t-shirts of different colors, meaning an individual has several roles.

Individuals have several roles

Because an individual is a member of several teams, they have plenty of different colored t-shirts in their bag. One team has a certain colored shirt, and when a person switches teams, their t-shirt color and role changes. This has been studied around the world.  According to one study one person had approximately 6,8 roles. Therefore, we all have many roles, perhaps even seven, like in the image above.

If you’re a CEO of a company, you, as well, have many different roles. One role is active when you’re a member of the board. Another role is when you’re leading your own management team. The third role is when you’re speaking to a customer. The fourth role is when you’re speaking to the investors, and so on. You might also be a part of several customer projects as a great salesperson. All of us have many roles just like this, no matter what role or responsibility we happen to have at any one given time.

Text: “How are the roles defined?”

This is a question I’ve been asked many times. I always say that there’s no specific person that defines the roles. WHAT?! Let people define the roles for themselves!

Text: Define them yourself! (within the frames) & a small icon of a group of five people standing on a light blue circle.

A senior HR consultant once told me: 

“You know, Markus. Half of Finland’s HR people write standing orders, and the other half tries to implement them.”

It’s completely useless if roles and their definitions are written down somewhere. The definition of work changes constantly! Let people define their roles for themselves, within the appropriate boundaries, of course. The definition creates the lines, but after that, write your own work definitions! Team members write a card on a common digital board, in which the role is shortly described. Everyone gets to pick a sensible and pleasant role for themselves. The team discusses what needs to be added and agrees on it.

Towards the sun by helping customers

Text: Our job is to help customers & a drawing of a person cheering and a drawing of a sun.

One must remember that our job is to help the customers. That’s why the company exists. It’s the big sun and the Purpose. People share in this Purpose and agree that it is important, and they rejoice since they can help.

sense and react

When a team exists, it must sense and react immediately to the customer’s needs. That’s when the team is doing well.

Red Text: “Nothing new!” & a drawing of a person pondering about a light blue diamond inside a thought bubble.

Everything I’ve told you isn’t new information. This is actually about making documentation transparent. There are millions of self-managing teams all over the world. Since the 1950’s humans have created a new way to organize. Hierarchy and self-management have existed, and there are plenty of companies that work as a hybrid. The transformation, however, can be slightly painful, if a proper Game Book isn’t written.

Hybrid organization model, a drawing of an open book, an indigo colored diamond and indigo text: “Game Book”

Ground rules

One must define a handful of central ground rules: For example, in soccer it’s not allowed to kick other players in the legs, and only the goalkeeper can catch the ball with their hands. Some rules are needed, in order for these two organization levels to work well together.

I have facilitated the transformation of a Finnish company into a self-managing model. I suspect that this is among the first transformations in the country, perhaps even the very first. No matter what the truth of the matter is regarding this “firstness”, it is not that common to see these types of transformations in practice. This is quite a new thing after all! What happened after the transformation? This organization’s profit grew with two million euros in their first year post-transformation. We have also created many Gamebooks to tens of organizations.

What kind of rules give us and our customers the WOW feeling? It’s funny that WOW actually stands for Way-Of-Working. New central game rules should be written down in the Gamebook! I always tend to use volunteers for this.

A Gamebook is needed to make all this work out in practice.

Long live the agile hybrid organization!

IGNITE YOUR STRATEGY! Read more.🔥

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Planning

1.13 Assumptions of the Strategy

Stradigo

Assumptions of the Strategy — 1.13

Share this blog

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

Today, I’m talking about the assumptions of the strategy. But first, let me begin with a wise quote:

Text: “The future cannot be researched because it doesn’t exist.”

This is a quote from futurologist Kjell A. Nordström, and a fantastic one at that! It means that everything we think about the future is merely assumptions and guesses. A mastermind, who accurately predicts tomorrow’s events, simply doesn’t exist. Probabilities can be calculated, but they are all guesses. I’m beginning to think that this is a very wise quote. 

Text: “We make assumptions about the future.”

To go forward, we must live at the mercy of assumptions. We make good predictions about the future, but they are nothing more than beliefs. Very interesting.

Drawing of a person thinking about strategy in the form of a globe. Text: “What distinguishes a good strategy and a bad strategy? The quality of assumptions!”

No-one knows which way the world is going, but others are capable of making assumptions about the direction. The quality of assumptions strongly influences the quality of the strategy.

Strategy is built on top of our current assumptions

A figure with point A and point B and a curved line that connects both points. This represents the strategy journey from today to the future.

Strategy is a journey from point A to point B, and it is built on top of our current assumptions. The point is that no one actually knows what point B is. It will become clear later down the road! If you try to define point B, you might not end up there, because a better waypoint was discovered along the way.

A figure with point A and point B connected by a line inside a sector. This represents the strategy journey from today to the future.

In fact, we are proceeding within a specific sector. A sector is my best metaphor for the strategy. The borders of the sector are defined by the strategy, and people are given the task to find the best direction within the sector. However, at the beginning of the journey the situation often looks like this:

Figure of point A and a sector. This represents the starting point of a strategic where the sector defines strategic direction.

We are in point A, and we define our sector in which we wish to travel. However, we don’t know what point B will be. Point B represents the target we intend to reach. While we travel inside the sector, we constantly encounter various challenges. The people, that work with us inside the business, are tasked with finding the best path forward, while staying inside the sector at the same time. It is a bit like navigating a boat. You constantly sense and respond to changes and find the best course while on the sea. Because of this the staff will be able to reach point B in due course.

Agile strategy

I believe that thinking about the future in this manner lays the groundwork for an agile strategy. I believe agile strategies are more competitive than a carefully planned linear strategy. Linear strategies have an issue. Even if the organization spends a huge amount of time to plan out everything meticulously, including the end point, the strategic plan will end up becoming outdated very quickly as the world moves along. It can even be outdated tomorrow.

So, why invest so much time and money into something that easily becomes outdated? Doesn’t feel like a terribly smart idea, which is why we can circumvent these issues by creating an agile strategy instead. The most dangerous thing an organization could do with a linear plan is that it starts to believe in the plan. If belief is strong, then the organization runs the risk of losing its sensitivity to changes. People may see what is going on, but it is too difficult to adapt because the established plan takes precedence. In a sense, death by bureaucracy.

Assumptions define the quality of strategy

Drawing of the globe and text: “Good assumption = Good strategy”

It’s a good idea to clarify the assumption, and also to challenge them. If we have a good assumption, it creates a good strategy.

Drawing of the globe and text: “Bad assumption = Bad strategy”

If we have a bad assumption, it creates a bad strategy. It’s quite simple in the end. The challenge is that assumptions are often invisible, just hanging in the air.

Drawing of the globe and text: “Assumptions often hanging in the air”

Every community and company has assumptions, but they haven’t been made visible. That’s why we aren’t necessarily aware of what the strategy is being built upon.

Challenge

Drawing of the globe and text: “Assumptions about the market, customers, products. Challenge!”
These assumptions can be about the market, customers, products, etc. I believe that assumptions should be visualized and vigorously challenged. Outdated assumptions are not a good foundation to build on.
I have challenged assumptions for many years through my career. I can say from experience that three of the ten most important assumptions within the organization about the market may be outdated. Before they were competitive, but now something has changed. Assumptions no longer create a competitive advantage for the organization, on the contrary, they have become a burden and they are in fact slowing it down. If business continues as usual, with the actions built on top of these outdated assumptions, the organization loses out!
Technology often enables change to take place and it challenges old beliefs. One must constantly be able to spot when the game changes. That’s why it’s good to find out how technology is able to help you, and to realize which assumptions are outdated and which ones are valid.

Challenge the mantras!

Drawing of two boxing gloves and text: “Challenge the mantras!”

Challenge your mantras! Whether we’re talking about a company or a community, mantras begin to form in practice. We begin to repeat the key beliefs of success. Slowly it becomes dangerous because we begin to believe them ever stronger. “You start to believe your own bullshit”, as someone brilliantly said.

It is often smart to bring in an experienced third party, because they are able to challenge with fresh input and questions. A third party also isn’t part of the inner political game, which always exists in a company.

The appropriate way of challenging could be crucially important if you wish to create a good strategy journey into the future.

Drawing of two boxing gloves and text: “Challenge the mantras!”

Good assumptions lead to a good strategy, and a good strategy is very exciting! It’s great to be involved in executing the purpose, the sun. It’s great to be a part of the winning game. Success is a great motivator.

Ignite your strategy! Read more.🔥

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Planning

1.12 The Company Purpose

Stradigo

The Company Purpose — 1.12

Share this blog

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

Today I will talk about something really powerful, which will allow your company to take off.  I’m talking about the purpose of the company.

Drawing of a person with two red question marks hovering above. Text: “Why does a company exist?”

First, let me ask you a question. Why does a company exist? What is the point of it? The answer, which you give spontaneously, centers on the core of your culture. There are many ways to answer this question. In my opinion, however, one answer can be better than the other.

Drawing of a person with two red question marks hovering above. Text: “Why do customers buy from us?”

Let me rephrase the question. Why do customers buy from us? Is the answer to this question the reason why our company exists?

Drawing of a person with two red question marks hovering above. Text: “Why do people work with us?”

Another question. Why do people work with us? Is this the point of our existence or is there a greater idea behind the company?

Drawing of a person with two red question marks hovering above. Text: “Why have people invested money in us?”

Why have investors invested their money into our business? Is the ultimate reason to earn money for the investors, who have risked their money? Some would say, of course! Others say that it is necessary, because without investments the company would not exist. Correct, people take out their invested capital by selling their ownership, if they think the returns on their investment are not sufficient. Likewise, the investors tend to prefer the company to increase in value over time.

It is also possible to think, that the company exists because all the stakeholders – the owners, the customers and the employees – believe and care deeply about what the company is trying to achieve.

A belief in good!

Simple drawing of three people cheering.

They can believe, for example, that the business idea can truly make the world into a better place, and create value for themselves, the customers, and the owners at the same time. This way the company also contributes tax revenue for the government, which naturally it likes very much. The government then does with the tax revenue what the bureaucrats and politicians think is necessary. Tax revenue expenditure is a controversial topic, let’s not talk about that beyond this point.

Everything I just mentioned will happen, you only need to make the right strategic choices.

The Purpose

Text in indigo colors: “The Purpose”. A drawing of a sun is placed above the text.

We have a purpose! The purpose is above all other things in importance. If customers feel like they receive a lot from us, then we, the staff, enjoy our success. The customer buys more from us, and the owner of the company sees that money is flowing in like water flows into the faucet from the tap. The invested capital is generating returns!

I must add, that the investor can be a young family that has invested all of their extra little money they have, in us. The investor must, of course, receive something in return for the risk they have taken upon themselves. Charity is something else. It’s not rude to give people compensation as thanks, it’s the decent thing to do. They have taken on risk and invested their financial capital in us, who are working towards a worthy cause, and they are helping us by investing their money into our cause. So, let’s be grateful for this investment and pay the investors dividends as thanks when appropriate, and increase the value of our company for everyone’s sake.

Purpose into a context

Text: “Mission, Vision” and an arrow that goes from Mission to Vision.

I’ll explain how this can be presented as a concept. Everyone in business has encountered the words vision and mission. Both words are controversial and usually people understand them differently. Sometimes people get the word definitions mixed up. Many use the words without a clear shared understanding. This is why we launched a new way of thinking, by combining mission and vision together into a single word. This is when we started to use the word purpose.

Text: “Mission, Vision” and an arrow that goes from mission to vision. Text: “Purpose” and drawing of a sun. The arrow goes from purpose to the sun.

I’m talking about the word Purpose. You lead a company with it.

I have shown these two opposite models to twenty customers during a strategy preparation process, and asked, which model they would like to use. The classic mission-vision model, or the simplified purpose concept? Everyone has agreed that The Company Purpose is the winning path forward for them. They have understood that the purpose concept is the winning path to a successful future for their business.

Text: “Purpose = Mission + Vision”

The above equation, that describes the situation, is absolutely solid in its clarity. Purpose equals mission + vision. Let’s dive into this equation more thoroughly.

The Sun model

purposeDrawing of a sun that represents a company’s purpose.

Let me introduce you to the sun model. This metaphor is something I came up with on my own, but the idea itself comes from Cynthia Montgomery, a Harvard Business School professor, who has written the book Strategist. This book mentions something she calls System of Advantage. She uses a steering wheel for visualization, but I realized I can use my own sun symbol, which I have used for years in other situations. This created the Purpose concept. The purpose concept portrays how the company purpose shines onto our daily tasks and how it affects our everyday life.

Our tasks are located between the rays of the sun. The space in between are practically speaking various sectors. Each sector can be labeled as things like customers, products, services, sales, pricing, logistics, finance etc. Everything is there.

Purpose Concept - How our purpose shines on our operation

The Purpose concept represented as a sun with Purpose at the middle. The sun is surrounded by sectors representing purpose building blocks. Text: “Customer choices, people and talents, products and services, marketing, sales & pricing, production & logistics, IT systems, research & development”

The company purpose has to be clearly visible inside the different tasks. Implementation can take place on different scales, which means some tasks have come further in adapting The Company Purpose. Some tasks haven’t come as far as the others.

If this is our Purpose now, what is like in the future?

The Purpose concept represented as a sun with Purpose at the middle. The sun is surrounded by sectors representing purpose building blocks. Text: “Customer choices, people and talents, products and services, marketing, sales & pricing, production & logistics, IT systems, research & development”

In the future the sunbeams will shine stronger and reach further. Our “vision” is to complete the process in these different tasks inside the sectors. However, if the first sun image is the current situation (which often is referred to as the company mission) and the second picture (visible above) is the “vision”, aren’t we talking about the same thing? The Purpose doesn’t change, it only becomes stronger as the company moves into the future.

Case

Purpose concept case “Stylish Furnishing for the many”. The sun’s rays make up various business areas. Bullet points denote golden nuggets.

Here is a case. I have crystallized this myself, so this isn’t an official slide. It is pretty good nevertheless. Look at the bullet points, and try to recognize what company it is. Start by reading the circle in the center: “Stylish furnishing for the many”. Then proceed to read the text inside the sectors. Customers have small living spaces and appreciate design. Prices match the wallets of many. A restaurant is at the front of the department store. Which company is this?

 – IKEA, of course!

Cynthia Montgomery uses IKEA as a case example. IKEA has, as a business, created an unbeatable concept that has a long-term competitive advantage, a Sustainable Competitive Advantage. Any furniture company is able to copy any of these bullets, which I call gold grains. Any competitor can try to imitate any single golden grain, like the restaurant concept, but will the competitor be able to perfectly imitate every single golden grain that IKEA has? Practically speaking no, that’s impossible.

The whole IKEA concept is deeply embedded inside the company culture, that it’s impossible to imitate effectively.

Also, Ingvar Kamprad created a foundation, which owns IKEA. The fact that IKEA is owned by the foundation prohibits it from being sold to a third-party. IKEA can’t be bought. If you try to copy them, you are many steps behind by the time you think you are done. Meanwhile IKEA has improved its concept and gone further. What a way to create a competitive advantage by building it on golden grains!

Gold grains

Almost all customers I work with have said, that they are lost with the idea of differentiation. What makes us (the customer) different from the others? I answer by using this example of gold grains: If you’re in the forest looking for a lump of gold, you’ll never find it. The Californian gold rush ended ages ago. The big lumps of gold have already been collected. These days it is not a good idea to try to rely on one thing, one golden grain. Instead, put some effort into finding 30 grains of gold. When you combine them together you end up creating something unique. This will create a sustainable competitive advantage for you.

When you have a Purpose, you learn to adapt it to what you are doing and you create a sustainable competitive advantage from several golden grains. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

This means that you can build a whole strategy with The Company Purpose as a guideline. Once you have a clear purpose concept you can effectively choose what will be the most important focus areas in your strategy.

The Company Vision

Figure that represents the fulfillment of a company purpose today and in the future through a one-page strategy. Text: “Purpose Today, Purpose Future, Focus Area 1, 2 & 3, Strategy”

When I ask Finnish companies what their visions are, I know their answer already in advance. How come? Everyone’s vision is always the same. They want to be No. 1. When I ask them: Isn’t the number 1 spot a position? They answer, yes. Then I ask them a follow-up question. Who gives you this status? They answer, the customers! Then I ask another follow-up question. What is the great thing you do, that allows you to earn the right to be No. 1? After that question the room usually become eerily quiet. The conclusion is that it is not clear what golden grains make up the company purpose.  

Text: “Challenge of differentiation…”

I encourage you to build this system, because then you are able to overcome the challenge with differentiation. Recently I introduced this idea to a public company, and both the CEO and the board got really excited about the approach.

This is how the whole concept can be represented. This is good, in the sense, that it can be easily communicated both to the staff and to the customers. If we aren’t excited about our company’s Purpose, how on earth is the same purpose going to be exciting for the customer? Customers realistically only become excited about what we do if we ourselves are excited about what we do.

Dear friend, create the sun model for yourself! Ignite your strategy! That is how you achieve sustainable competitive advantage. Your staff will radiate with joy and excitement and the customers are thankful for it. Your customers will give you’re your well-deserved reward, which means deals and money that flows into your business. This is a win-win situation for everybody involved!

Ignite your strategy! Read more.🔥

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Leadership

2.06 Multiplying Meeting Efficiency

Stradigo

Multiplying Meeting Efficiency — 2.06

Share this blog

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

Today I will reveal a secret. The secret is how a company can multiply its meeting efficiency! Over the years we have achieved this level of efficiency consistently. Let’s look at how it’s done.

Time spent in meetings

Drawing of two groups of people. One group sitting around a round table and another group is in a conference room looking at a projector screen.

It’s pretty dramatic how much time we spend on meetings. Many have the opinion that they will spend a lot of time on meetings in the future as well. But, is there a way to be more efficient during meetings? Of course!

Drawing of an online meeting with six different people. Drawing also contains the text: “Online meeting”

The magic of online meetings

We have, by necessity, discovered the magic of online meetings. We can share videos and talk to each other over the internet. The current situation with the pandemic required us to start using this technology properly in a serious manner. As a result, our societies have made a digital leap. I am truly grateful that this leap has taken place.

At Stradigo, we began holding online meetings back in 2016. Once we had discovered the efficiency benefits that online meetings gave us compared to face-to-face meetings, there was no going back to the traditional way of doing things. That is pretty exciting. Our customers agreed with this. Working online was much more efficient. An infinite stream of meetings very often bogs down employees, so efficiency is highly appreciated. 80-90% of my meetings have been held online already for several years.

So, what is the feature that makes online meetings preferable? A lot of people say that they prefer a physical meeting. Of course, it’s a more humane way to interact. However, if we look at this from a business perspective, the online meetings are far more efficient timewise. The strategy must also be present in everyday operation. If we desire human interaction, there will be plenty of time to socialize outside our meetings because our meetings are fast and efficient. Everybody wins.

Are we distant after all?

Distance is an interesting word. Distant from what? If you’re working from home, the meeting is nearby. It totally depends on which angle you are looking from. Are you looking at it from my point of view or an employee’s point of view? Attending a distance meeting is also about going to the workplace, isn’t it? It is the perspective that strongly defines whether it is distant or nearby.

The only thing that has started to bug me is people’s timidity to switch their videos on during meetings. I’ve heard all the excuses:

“My hair isn’t straight!”

“Technology isn’t working.”

“My kitchen is too messy!”

Ugh! It’s so easy to change one’s background nowadays. Think if we were as rude when arriving at physical meetings. It’s the same as giving everyone else eye masks so that no one can see you. Come on, show yourself!

Drawing of a screenshare of a “PowerPoint” slide during an online meeting with four people. One person is speaking.

Screen sharing

Another thing which everyone has learned, is sharing their screen. A PowerPoint is screenshared and everyone’s videos are placed on one side of the browser. There are several software available for this.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom, for instance, have spread quickly. For a long time we used Zoom almost exclusively, because back then it allowed us to have hundreds of participants join quickly into the workshops. These days both Zoom and Teams allows us to sort people into smaller breakout rooms for small-scale group work. In the future, we may have even better software to help us out, but for the time being Microsoft Teams and Zoom have worked great for us. 

The fact that one person shares their screen and gives a presentation while others are commenting, is a massive digital leap. Now, I will, however, visualize what the problem is.

Drawing of a screenshare of a “PowerPoint” slide during an online meeting with four people. One person is speaking. Text: “Lot’s of quiet people!”

The fight for airtime

During a meeting, many people stay quiet because they do not want to compete for airtime. Because of this, many great insights and thoughts remain unheard. There could be many reasons. Some people are shy. Some don’t want to compete for attention with attention magnets, the very talkative people. Each company has extroverts and introverts, and everything in between. Even then, the best thoughts and input can reside with the quiet ones. If we only listen to the ones who are talkative, then the best ideas will not emerge. When everyone gets an equal chance to express themselves, that’s when the efficiency starts to increase.

Text: “The 5x Magic…”
A list on a writing surface surrounded by speech bubbles. Text: “Common writing surface”. It describes collaboration with digital software.

Common writing surface

“The 5x Magic!” We can use a common digital writing surface, like a whiteboard! Some have claimed that group efficiency increases significantly there is a common writing surface, a common board, that everyone can edit at the same time. When everybody can be active participants at the same time the meeting efficiency will skyrocket. People can be active participants if they can contribute with editing and commenting no matter who happens to be talking at that specific time in the meeting. When this happens, the meeting experiences The 5x Magic!

Screenshot of a Zoom meeting & Text: "We’re all in the same room!”

Here you see the point in online meetings. I have held workshops with over 150 people, who I can divide into 50 breakout rooms at will. Everyone can contribute input at the same time.

Screenshot of a Zoom meeting, Trello board & Text: “Video + writing surface”

 I use Trello boards as the common writing surface.

Screenshot of a Trello board with the contents of the board in Finnish. The screenshot relates to an Online Workshop.

A board for each meeting

Every meeting has its own separate board, on which the full meeting agenda is clearly visible. The agenda proceeds from left to right. If it is the first time I’m facilitating the meeting with the organization, I always begin the meeting with a briefing where I introduce them to the work process. It’s very simple to understand.

The board layout allows everyone to see and follow what is going on. This includes the introduction and the wrap-up of the meeting. I also collect pulse comments regularly during the meeting, which allows me to keep tabs on how everything is going. Pulse comments are a great way to gather feedback, because from them I learn how we did during the meeting and what should be done in the next steps of the process. Each column on the board represents a specific topic that needs to be covered during the meeting. We go through them one by one and we get input from the meeting participant.

At the end, everyone writes their thoughts about the meeting and what they learned from the experience.  I have also built a course that teaches how to utilize this working method, and it is suitable for a larger group.

People should be activated in different ways during the meeting according to the topic that is being covered. Personal comments and tasks, including groupwork, can be assigned to the various participants. We can also encourage participants to brainstorm. We can identify the best ideas by asking everyone to give thumbs-up to the input people write on the board. By doing all of these things we can turn online meetings into an absolutely solid way of working together. And on top of this, at the end of the meeting we already have everything documented. In a regular meeting all the documentation work would have to be done separately after the meeting. Quite a time sink! Like… it used to go like this:

No more sticky notes!

The old way is to sit in a conference room and post sticky notes on the wall. The wall becomes colorful, but no-one is able to read the text from afar – let alone see the handwriting! When the meeting ends, someone wraps the brown paper into a roll and after two days you finally get the transcription of the sticky notes. What a waste! So slow.

A multitude of unwritten sticky notes on a whiteboard.

With a digital writing board everything is taken care of all at once: The notes are immediately transcribed, they can be opened with a click and discussed about. Everyone is able to comment on the note simultaneously. And every comment is on the same platform automatically. This medium enables meeting efficiency to increase.

A screenshot of a word cloud produced with the survey tool Mentimeter. The word cloud comes from an online video workshop.

I often ask people to give one-word feedback to questions, e.g. “How was the strategy meeting today?” By using software we get hundreds of comments compressed into a word cloud, which makes it easy to see all the feedback. Pretty efficient!

Another benefit with holding online meetings is that we polute much less, since people don’t have to travel. No-one has to drive their car to a meeting. We save time by not commuting. Online meetings also tend to begin punctually, and people rarely come in late (at least in Finland).

Include everyone!

This figure represents a full strategy process that contains workshops and digital boards that people can collaborate on during the process.

Here is an example of our strategy process and its digital boards. We include the staff at the beginning, middle, and end of the process. We hold workshops with volunteers in between these meetings, and every meeting has its own digital board. The agenda is visible, and everything is open for everyone to see. This is full transparency in practice. The boards can also be looked at later if somebody is absent from a meeting or a workshop or wants to make revisions.  

If you learn this facilitation method, you can achieve great efficiency! Tasks are completed faster, and the quality of the output increases because the meeting efficiency gives time to iterate during the meeting. This way, we can get so much more done!

Efficient meetings increase productivity and probably result in more money coming into the business down the road. When the business makes money, it can pay out salaries to its employees. 

Ignite your strategy by multiplying your meeting efficiency! Read more.🔥

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Customer Strategy

5.02 Digital Sales for Dummies

Stradigo

Digital Sales for Dummies | 5.02

For ten years I have put an enormous amount of energy and time into understand digital sales,  and what digitalization actually means in communication, marketing and sales. Also, I have invested a great amount of money. Luckily, some of the investments have borne fruit. I have frequently visited the United States and London and found the best people who are at the top of their league in digitalization.

It has been my great ambition to produce this text. Now I will tell you what the point of digital sales is. In my opinion it’s as big as the invention of the telephone. Phones have existed for years, but very few understood their power in the beginning. Let’s look at what digital sales is.

Hot leads

Text: Everybody wants hot leads

Point number one is that this thing called digital sales exists. Everyone wants hot leads in B2B marketing. Where do the leads come from?

Text: The task of marketing is to bring leads to sales.

From marketing, of course. The purpose of marketing is to bring hot leads to sales, and then it’s the sales’ job to close the deal.

Text: But what if the lead is not hot?

In the old world the lead could come from trade fairs in the form of a business card. What if the lead isn’t hot, but lukewarm? Or cold? I have the business card, so who cares?

Nurturing

Text: How could we scale the nurturing?

The question is: Can I nurture the customer with scalability? Think, if I could nurture a big group of customers… I’m talking about a massive group, even thousands of people! That would be intense!

Text: Digital sales is the answer!

This is what it’s all about in digital sales: We can nurture thousands of people on a weekly basis! It’s impossible to personally meet thousands of people, or even phone them all.

Nurture the customer

Figure describing the describes the lead nurturing process that begins with marketing efforts.
The above image, in my opinion, is the main point of this whole blog text: Is marketing giving leads? Nowadays the marketing unit has begun to market digitally a lot, but marketing very often measures its success in clicks. LinkedIn, for example, measures in clicks. But is it enough? No, it isn’t. We need a name!

Sales call their customers in order to get a sales meeting. The salesperson gives a spectacular presentation with all the PowerPoint-slides needed, and in the end the customer says:

“Really interesting, but not now. We have so much going on at the moment”.
Sounding familiar? What happens next? A long wait. 3-6 months later the salesperson meets the customer again. What does the customer say?

“Really interesting, but we have other things going on at the moment”.

This pattern goes on, and on, and on. What do we do in between the meetings? Most people wait aggressively by the phone, expecting a phone call or an email from the customer.

Give personal professional knowledge

What if WE sent messages to them? We have their business card; we have the right to send them messages and emails. Messages can be written by the salespeople or by a professional who was present at the meeting. Messages should contain personal professional knowledge, meaning we give the customer our best practices for free -experiences and cases, for example.

Text Messages can also be sent, marketing review reports, for example. The content has to contain substance, this means something that the customer wouldn’t come to think of on their own. A business has a lot of experience from its own field, and that’s the kind of information and know-how that the customer probably isn’t aware of, which makes it both insightful and valuable.

The customer needs to be nurtured with information and understanding, and we shouldn’t be guarding it jealously! This is called digital sales.

nurture the customer

The second option is receiving an email address from the marketing department, without even meeting the person. We can, however, begin to nurture this customer personally through digital sales, just like I’m now telling you about all this. Yes, our idea behind these blogs is to give you sneak peeks and valuable insights. We not only want you to get something practical, that you can implement on your own, but to also get a clear idea if you would like to have us help you more in-depth. (Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.)

As I’m writing this blog, I’m at our vacation home in the Porvoo archipelago. We just arrived here with my wife. I have an office here as well, from which I work remotely quite often.

The thing about email addresses is so interesting. If I were a CEO of a big company or working in a company with tens of people, I would give the market one central measure:

“How many email addresses have you collected during this month?”

Clicks are only a waypoint. The culmination of the click is the email address. Did you get the address or not? Immediately when we have the address, we can launch a marketing automation sequence of multiple emails that contain substantial value for the lead. Not spam, valuable substance.

Digital sales is the same thing as the coming of the telephone. Before cell phones we, of course, knew how to sell. We went straight to the customer and knocked on their door and met them. Of course, letters were sent, and advertisements were posted in magazines. But then, cell phones came. Was the salesperson with a phone more efficient than the guy who ran around meeting everyone in person? OF COURSE, because they had the time to call many more people.

Now we can do digital sales! A massive amount of people can be reached with digital sales. Thousand times more than before with just a phone.

A personal professional relationship starts to build up. They start to know you.

interested customer

First of all, I can create a personal, professional relationship with the customer. When I write this text for you to read, I need to speak to you as an individual. I’m not speaking in a large auditorium; I’m speaking to you as an individual and sharing my best tricks with you. This is how a bond is created between us. On the video it’s even more lively.

You begin to know me, and that is, of course, valuable. That’s when a customer might think:

¨Hey, that guy seems to know a lot and he’s telling me lots of useful things for free. In fact, I might start following this guy, because he seems so nice.”

I have many whom I like and follow quite intensely. Of course, all the time I don’t have the energy to read the messages I’ve received, but very often I look at them.

In 2007 I met Chris Cardell in London, and I have followed him ever since. He sends five messages a week, which I always don’t have the energy to read. I know, however, that in the beginning he gave me so much for free, that I was amazed and didn’t understand how that could’ve been profitable for the business. This is the catch. A person can sense this person genuinely wants to help, and not only sell.

There is always someone who needs help and will buy. But it’s wonderful if one can help businesses to succeed, even if they carried out a plan their own way without asking me for help. That’s the great mission. Of course, money needs to flow in. Someone always needs help in practice, but if someone can improve their business using the info I share, or some other presentation, it’s just wonderful!

There is no need of being scared of the competition. They can copy, but they also have their own beliefs and framework and their own way of doing things. It isn’t so easy to copy, and if someone copies me, I’ll be just around the corner the very next week developing something new, so at least in my business, the competition doesn’t matter because I move faster than the competitors can copy and implement my stuff. By they time they successfully develop and deploy my things, I have already made that same thing obsolete through new innovations.

Automate!

automate

This way I can nurture thousands of people weekly. At the moment I have five thousand CEOs and management leaders on my mailing list, to whom I send a minute-long video every week. This type of short video is hard to do, because it can’t contain any extra word, because one minute is a very short time. I can easily speak 20 minutes or even 2-3 minutes, but compressing everything to a one minute speech is challenging. Every word needs to be examined, in order to make sure there is substance in the video.

I can share my message to thousands of people all at once. My customer’s salesman Jani had found 3500 contacts on LinkedIn, that could potentially be interested in the company’s services. He has met several customers face to face, altogether about 200. What does he do with the remaining 3300? Does he aggressively wait for someone to call? That’s when he realized he can approach them digitally and personally. There’s no way he would have the time to call all three thousand and meet them. Instead, he can nurture them. When the time is right and the customer realizes they need help, that’s when Jani might get a call or an email from a customer – without ever meeting them. Jani is already familiar to the customer.

Document experiences

Text: Don’t create content. Document experiences.

I recently learned a new thing from my guru: Don’t create new content, document what you did”.

You don’t have to make up content! Just explain what you learned. That’s why I’m trying to become sensitive towards the moment I experience a Heureka-moment. Every week I get a feeling that “this was pretty interesting, I’ve learned something new”. I make a video about what I’ve learned, and send it off every Thursday.

I have been doing this for so long, that I suddenly have an archive of 300 videos! Producing a one-minute video no longer takes that long, because I’ve standardized the process for myself. Before, I was thinking a lot about how to get them done in my everyday life and what kind of technology and lighting I need. Here’s a tip for you: Talk with someone, who has figured things out and can help you get started. That way things go easy. Also, the best thing is that recording a video doesn’t have to cost you any money.

Goal of digital sales: The Meeting

Text: The Goal of Digital Sales. Meeting.

The goal of B2B sales is the meeting. Not the fact that the deal would be done on the internet. These deals are usually very big. Nobody orders anything online with big sums of money, they invite you to a meeting. Then the traditional and physical offer negotiations begin. The goal in B2C is to secure the purchase. Same principles as in B2B apply, but closing is different online.

Traffic

Graph with two lines. Traffic that you buy (rises quickly and goes down). Traffic that you own (rises slowly but becomes big).

Everyone wants traffic on their webpage. They want the email address. Traffic is wanted and it can either happen fast or slowly. Buying traffic is faster. In other words we advertise our pages to a large group on Facebook or LinkedIn. We get people to click and to download our “magnet”. The price is the email address. The feature of bought traffic is that it fades, people stop following after a while even though they had clicked on the link.

However, the traffic that comes from people who find our webpage on their own or through Google, is the traffic we own, because we have their email addresses. Even though Facebook, LinkedIn and everything would end, we have email. Facebook and LinkedIn can identify the people who have visited their pages. That’s when we can buy advertisements that are published directly to these people on those platforms, not outside of the platforms. However, we don’t get their email addresses if we just rely on advertising on the massive digital platform and ecosystems. We don’t own the traffic, which means we are in trouble if we are banned from using the advertising systems on these platforms.

The blue line in the image above is more valuable in the long run, but it is advisable to use both ways of traffic in the beginning.

Relevant content

Lead magnet with a call-to-action leads to an email.

Many think email is a disappearing medium and that nobody has time or bothers to read them. Yes, nobody reads a message that isn’t relevant to them! I say, however, that the receiver will most definitely read the message if it’s truly relevant to them.

A magnet has to exist, something that they want for themselves. It could be an e-book or a video series. A CTA (Call to Action) button is placed on the web page stating “Order this”, or “Download here”, for example. The email address is the what the user gives in exchange for the thing that they want.

It’s interesting when I asked a company management how many email addresses they have. They didn’t know! This in my opinion states that nobody has acknowledged that a new telephone has been invented. Otherwise they would’ve known the exact amount. This morning I had 7416 addresses, 5000 of which are in Finland and the remaining ones abroad. I can see these numbers directly in my information dashboard, and I keep track of them often — daily or weekly.

The List

This image includes the text “The List” and a drawing of a column with many lines on top of each other.

This is an important point: Email addresses form my list. I have many many addresses on my list and together they are a huge asset, capital to our business. The list is important because it consists of current customers as well as prospective customers. If we have a quality list, it raises the valuation of our company.

The list is absolutely essential: You should collect email addresses, and in a way that the person is willing to give it. Then you grow the list systematically. This is the reason I would set the amount of new email addresses as a central KPI (Key Performance Indicator).

Of course people will leave the list when they no longer want to follow – and that’s ok. The more people leave, the better. That’s when the quality of the list grows because you don’t want to spam people who are not interested in the information that you are sending out. I, as well, clean out my list. I intend to send everyone that hasn’t followed or looked at my mails, a message. I will inform them that I will stop sending mails to them, but they can continue the subscription by clicking the button in the email.

Automatic nurturing

Text: Nurture automatically with right messages.

Once the message has been written, you don’t need to do it again. The computer takes care of the rest. Some people can think that automation makes the message impersonal. It isn’t impersonal, it’s me writing it! It’s just that the message comes with a delay. That’s how it was during the war when a letter came from the trenches. The letter had been written by a person, it just took time to arrive at its destination. The message has to be written in real time with a personal touch, but the delivery comes with a delay.

Digital sales allows us to take care of personal customer relationship development in a scalable fashion, in practice this means thousands of people. You are giving valuable information for free. The content has to be so solid, something you find difficult to decide if it is a smart choice to hand it out, because it something so valuable. You however are an expert, and you know how hard it is to actually implement your expertise. So even if the other party gets super high-value information, then they may not even have it in them to successfully implement that information. Those who truly value your expertise and value their own time, will realize that the most valuable choice for them is to contract you to help them out personally. Those who don’t value your input, come to the conclusion that they much rather do things by themselves. That is fine, because you will have more time to dedicate to the customers who actually value your input. Everybody wins.

 “Wow, I’m getting so much for free, I wonder what I would get if I paid?”

Learn to collect email addresses and how to systematically build the list.

The goal of B2B sales is to get the meeting.

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategy Implementation

3.02 The Game Book of Actions

Stradigo

The Game Book of Actions — 3.02

Share this blog

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

Many leaders have the problem that makes it difficult for them to renew their way of working, even though the goal is clear. How could one make everyone feel excited about creating new things while improving competitiveness? Creating an exciting game book of actions is the answer.

Let’s begin with our strategy model, in which three loops rotate while linked to one another. The first loop is where the strategy is directed: Everyone is involved and ideas are chosen, challenged and crystallized. When the strategic goals have been defined, the second loop’s mission is to break them down into subgoals. Prioritizing, resourcing and steering take place. The final loop is the everyday work, which is the theme of today’s blog.

Three loops

Strategy framework with 3 loops. Direct, Prioritize, Act. This framework is used by Stradigo.

How do we get people to serve their customers with excitement throughout the entire customer lifecycle? The customer lifecycle is a journey as well.

The 3rd loop of Igniting Strategy process. Text: “Act Daily, serve customers, sense & respond, playbook for Way-Of-Working, utilize technology.”

What are the crucial matters, the new ways of working, that must be implemented? These matters can be made into Game Book. This metaphor has excited many. How can technology be used to make the ‘We Act’-loop rotate faster?

A red dot and a green dot. Above the red dot is the text “Brake”. Above the green dot is the text “Gas”.

In actions, there are two pedals, the gas pedal and the brake pedal. If the brake pedal is pressed down, the car won’t budge. We must figure out a way to lift the pedal. I always pose a question:

What’s not working?

Of course, in every place there are a million things that don’t work. But what are the big things that aren’t working? If we merely try to step on the gas without letting go of the brake, it’s wasting energy.

The point is to understand what the WOW factor be for us, for me, my friends, and for our clients? This is the key to a fine process. Let’s engage everyone to think about the WOW factor. That’s when the brake pedal lifts, and the car is free to move. Not a very difficult idea, in theory.

What is the WOW factor for us?

A red dot and a green dot. Above the red dot is the text “Brake”. Above the green dot is the text “Gas”.

The movement must be going from left to right. At Stradigo, we have facilitated tens of processes just like this, and as a concept it seems to be amazing.

The text “Game Book” in the color indigo written above a drawing of an open book.

The answer is to create a Playbook together! Invite people to join the process, even on a voluntary basis. Don’t create a thick Playbook, instead include only the crucial new procedures.

The Game Book of actions reforms procedures

The text “Game Book” in the color indigo written above a drawing of an open book.

The idea is to crystallize the new procedures. It’s advisable to do that according to the role. In an organization, people have multiple roles. What if people in certain roles were invited to identify the procedure that would become the WOW factor? WOW stands for Way-Of-Working.

The point is that the identification is done together. It’s not done in a conference room. Preferably, it’s done with volunteers. When people are given the freedom to think about the WOW, it’s easily identified!

In many places, I have been told that rules are not wanted. I often use soccer as a metaphor, because certain rules are needed. One must be familiar with the area in which the game is played. The goalkeeper can use their hands when catching the ball. A player can’t kick others in their legs.

If we do things together, the Game Book of actions inspires people to turn their operation towards a common direction by themselves. This direction is our Purpose, how we help our customers.

What motivates a role?

Drawing of an agile culture in an organization as a sun shining out into different sectors. Customer, Salesperson, Leader, Project Manager, and Expert.

Let’s look at the roles. The customer is, of course, an obvious role. As is a salesperson, an expert, and a manager. A bunch of roles are picked, and then people are asked to volunteer in the process of choosing WOW factors for the roles. This makes everybody see the WOW factors in the roles.

The WOW catch

Drawing of a brick wall being hit by a large arrow. An indigo colored arrow goes around the wall towards a sun.

The work begins by looking at what’s slowing us down. The catch is to go around the obstacle. We task a group to find a way around the obstacle. The amount of creative ideas it’s possible to get is amazing!

Typical Game Book themes

Game Book Themes: Leadership principles, transparency, interaction / co-operation, decision-making, agile customer work, stakeholders.

The management’s job is to create focus, and they want to influence the process at this stage as well. The image above has typical approaches. The core can be the agile customer work. How could interacting and collaborating work better, and what about decision-making? How could we understand the customer more deeply? We ask people to innovate WOW factors within these themes.

The themes in the above image are typical, however, the management group can identify specific themes that they want to work for them.

Case: Roles have common joker cards

Representation of a joker gaming card in Stradigo’s strategy work process. Source of a WOW-factor. “I split meetings in half.”

I invented the above card metaphor during a process inside of a big organization. The WOW factors were contemplated with chosen pioneering individuals. The management had given themes in which new things were innovated. These procedures were developed in a series of workshops. That’s when the idea of making the WOW factor into a playing card was born. It creates a card game!

Four cards were created in one workshop, when people were divided into four groups. Together, all the cards created a deck of cards. The name of the WOW factor was written on a card. We also gave the card a short description. The card contained ideas the individual carrying the card could implement without needing to ask a superior for permission. We also created special Joker cards, that could suit all the roles inside of the organization. Here is an example of such a Joker card:

“I cut meetings in half, both in time and number, without sacrificing our goals. I save people’s time by freeing them from long meetings. I only invite people relevant to the meetings. Using Teams, I collect everyone’s comments beforehand or after the meeting. We converse in Teams, not with email.”  

Many cards were created, 52 to be exact! That’s the same amount of cards as in a regular deck of cards. The management was very excited about this. Take a moment to guess if the organization’s creative team was excited about the card deck? Yes. They ended up going out into the hallways, and the company neighborhood and they told everyone in the organization what had taken place.

The whole process went organically. In this situation the management didn’t start pushing it. Pioneer individuals were chosen, and they got to spread the excitement to others. It’s a very efficient and natural way! In other instances, we have done things more traditionally if the customers have wanted to set goals and to follow up. It depends on how this all feels as a process. 

Create a Game Book of actions and ignite your strategy! Read more.🔥

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Leadership

2.04 Strategy implementation in sprints

Stradigo

Strategy Implementation In Sprints – A Living Digital Board | 2.04

Share this blog

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

A strategy is useless if implementation never occurs. In this blog, I discuss how the company can kickstart the implementation process and its practice while using sprints and a living digital strategy board.

The eternal fight

Figure representing the conflict between important and urgent things as work piles. A few important things are overwhelmed by urgent things.

A never-ending battle between important matters and urgent matters exists. Guess which one wins? Urgent things always win. How can this be managed? Crystallized focus areas and breakthrough goals are super important. They must be present in the strategic work. Implementation is required, not necessarily by tomorrow, but soon.

People are always in a hurry. Leaders are bad leaders if they don’t fill their coworkers’ days with desirable activity, like productive work that forwards their goals. The more people that the leader needs to streamline, the bigger the hurry is inside the organization. It’s crucial to understand which task is the essential one and how important it is to implement.

Strategic and operative work in the same work pile

Text: “Strategic and Operative Work in the same work pile”. Important and urgent things are stacked on top of one another.

Let’s put everything in the same work pile! If we keep the strategy separate and hidden, it’s not going to work. We need to have urgent and important things in front of our eyes all the time.

Let’s make only a single work pile! Let’s collect the goals together and list the necessary tasks under them, just like how old binders have interleaves. That’s how they are constantly in front of everyone’s eyes while browsing through the workload.

“One backlog”. Important and urgent things are stacked on top of one another.

Workpile onto a digital strategy board

Backlog of work beside a digital board. The figure implies that the work backlog ought to be moved onto the digital board.

What if we moved the work pile onto a digital board? Let’s put the big goals and choices in columns and the necessary tasks in cards underneath them. The tasks get distributed between people, and decisions get made about who does what. The traffic lights enable us to see, for instance, if the task is progressing, if it is behind in schedule, or if it is experiencing problems. 

Drawing representing a digital board and a group of people holding weekly meetings to discuss the contents of the digital board.

When the goals and tasks get listed on the digital board, have a guess, will the board become alive? When the board gets looked at every week, it becomes very much alive. In a physical meeting, the digital board gets projected onto a wall so that everybody can see it. If the meeting takes place as an online session, one person shares their screen, but everyone can also look at the screen through their browser window, which means everybody can write simultaneously on it.

An online meeting works better than a physical meeting, which is pretty exciting. Many think it’s nice to meet in person. Still, if we take a realistic and blunt perspective and look at this from a productivity and efficiency angle, well-facilitated online meetings are better. Especially if the meeting structure is in order. More gets accomplished when people work online with proper methods.

Online meetings are face-to-face meetings

Ever since 2016, I have facilitated almost all of my workshops online. In the beginning, it’s good to meet in person at least once, to get to know each other. Everyone, however, has their laptops and the joint writing board open during the meeting. People see the board and post input as digital cards. The following sessions take place online because they are so much more efficient. Besides, video conferences are, in fact, face-to-face meetings, if you start to think about it!

Whether working online or on location, what boosts the group’s productivity is a shared board to write on. If the only way of communicating is through speech, comments easily get forgotten, as high detailed documentation rarely takes place.

In online meetings, I sometimes ask for pulse comments about how the session is going. Documentation exists the whole time, but we also read the written input out loud. With a joint writing board, separate transcriptions are not a necessity. Workshop preparation also takes much less time.

Agile strategy implementation

Figure about agile strategy implementation, where a strategy 1pager digital board is divided into sub-boards for business units and functions.

A corporation can follow up its goals from the strategy board. Different business units can have their boards as well. In the above figure, a card gets broken into subgoals. The tasks, of course, also have a person in charge. In the figure, there are four departments, and they all have their boards. Also, there are three functions: Finance, HR, and communication.

The point is that the boards are visible to everyone. If someone wants to know what other people are up to, they can have a look. An agile strategy can be completely transparent! One great thing comes from the fact that free software exists that already comes with basic needed functionality. One practical example of such software is Trello, which I use extensively.

Text: "Sprint management"

Leading strategy implementation in sprints is a 30-year-old idea. The IT industry has demonstrated that it’s not worth planning a project in detail because the world and the customer need changes over time. Big projects get delayed constantly, and the outcomes aren’t, in the end, even good. What if we merely decided on the big goal and worked in shorter sprints? The customer can track our progress thanks to this sprint structure.

The customer can get unsatisfied if they experience a long project without getting any intermediate results.

When we made long waterfall projects and didn’t show the customer’s intermediate results, they ended up unsatisfied with the final delivery. The customer’s needs had changed along the way. It is vital to understand the customer deeply! That’s when spring leadership came into the picture: Working in small sprints and keeping the customer up-to-date as the sprints progress.

Agile prioritization

Figure that represents how tasks are chosen from a large work backlog in order to become the priority over the next sprint.

I think every business would benefit significantly from using sprint management. In sprint management, the company works from a backlog. The backlog should be looked at only when deciding on actions for the next sprint. Thinking doesn’t go beyond the sprint at hand. Staff limit thinking to the most critical things, which prevents information overload. Sprint duration is scheduled, which means the sprint is never late. In the old days, when the team didn’t reach a goal on time, the goal stayed the same, but the issue stretched the schedule.

The philosophy is different with sprints, because the sprint is never late. The schedule never changes. Instead, the group must only finish the core of the project. Projects become lighter because not everything needs to get done in a perfectionistic fashion. Otherwise, everyone tries constantly to produce extra, too refined, value. Minor improvements might not necessarily be so necessary. But, when tasks need to get finished, the focus is automatically on the core. Then the job for the next sprint is decided. 

Time-boxed goals

Figure describing the duration of a single agile sprint, which stretches from Monday to Monday.

Here you can see a one-week sprint from Monday to the following Monday. I would say a two-week sprint is the maximum time allocated to a single sprint. A Monday meeting gets held, which begins by looking at how the previous week’s sprint went. Are the tasks ready?

People get to decide for themselves what they want to work on during the next sprint. Unfinished tasks move into the backlog, from where they may be chosen for the next sprint once again, if still relevant. Sprints are necessarily not tied together regarding tasks.

Herein lies a psychological factor. When people know that they get asked if they managed to finish their work at the end of every week, they tend to get the job done. If they don’t, they still manage to do a final crunch and think about something they get to finish on time. They know how to focus on the core issues. Set goals ought not to bend to short-term whims, but the goals’ content can and should adapt to needs. It was the other way around back in the day.

Strategy implementation in sprints is a win-win for all!

A whiteboard with three columns and cards. The cards have green, yellow and red dots. Each column is titled as a goal. Five people look at the board.

Put strategic tasks in the same work pile together with the operative tasks. Strategy implementation in sprints enables you to implement the strategy much more efficiently, and the schedules hold. That’s it. 

Use this approach to ignite your strategy! Read more.🔥

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Planning

1.04 Case: Strategy together

Stradigo

Strategy Case: Creating A Strategy Together — 1.04

Share this blog

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

Today I will talk about a case that had a few fantastic features. The strategy was done together! I simply must share it with you. The most amazing thing was that a big corporation had the guts to jump into a completely new way of making strategies by involving the whole staff. It most certainly wasn’t in their culture, but they sensed that now was the right time for it. The strategy was done together, and it went very well.

We do the strategy together!

Figure that describes how a strategy is created in a process that takes place over multiple workshops.

The strategy was made authentically together! Even blue-collar workers joined. Over 100 people always attended the meetings, although I must admit that many more were expected to participate. I’ll tell you more about the kickoff and about the feedback we received.

We held three workshops with two divisions. We worked with both in tandem, alternating between both divisions over the workshops. The workshops involved about 30 people, and everything was done digitally online. The trick is to have a common digital board, which magnifies meeting efficiency, and on which everyone can write simultaneously. Every meeting had its own digital board, and that is something that changes the whole process. Steering meetings were held in between the workshops, in which we presented the unfinished strategy to the staff for feedback.

Think how “horrible”! We showed everyone something that is not ready!

In the end the tough choices were brought together, and the staff had a moment to browse through the Strategy 1Pager and leave their fingerprint on it. I call these comments steering signals, and boy were there many!

The dreaming workshop

A cropped screenshot (in Finnish) from a Trello board that was used during the first workshop in the strategy process, centered on dreaming.

After the first kickoff the next step was the dreaming workshop. We jumped into a time machine and travelled five years into the future and landed at home. The participants were asked to visualize everything that they would see, hear, smell, feel and taste five years in the future. The visualizations were written into 12 stories, and they were all so exciting! Every time, people were as astonished as I am about how much information our subconscious contains.

I asked people to give a one-word comment about the kickoff. Those comments were then used to form a word cloud. It’s easy to see what people have thought about it. The bigger the word, the more times it has been commented. Most of the comments are super positive, but you will always find some constructive criticism. The word interesting is, well, interesting because it’s the subtlest way to object. It means you are looking at the situation from a distance and that you haven’t hopped on board quite yet. Those that give exciting feedback are the ones that have already stepped on the boat and are ready to row.

A word cloud (in Finnish) from a kickoff workshop that displays the participant feelings about the experience.

Challenging the way we think

How do we challenge our way of thinking? As we travel into the future during the dreaming phase, an interesting phenomenon happens. It is a bit like playing and people come up with ideas easily, without being weighed about the implementation difficulties.

Figure about how to challenge thinking during a strategy process with 5 exercises. Trends, Dreaming, Brutal Reality, Paranoia & Tough Choices.

Every theme is a workshop by itself. During this case, we went through all four workshops. In brutal reality, we wondered why we are constantly in a rat race and a step behind, even though we have a ton of great ideas and a lot of work is being done.

Development debt will always exist, and one must learn to live with it. It can be hard to dream at times. But, when the workshops are done online, one is already finished after an hour. In our case, every workshop was three hours long, and the staff worked for four hours altogether. The whole thing was done in two and a half days’ time.

Would you invest two days to think about your strategy?

Our workgroup had a few people that found it weird to think about high-quality thoughts. That’s exactly what they are, high-quality. I firmly believe that one must have one’s head in the clouds, while also having very long legs that reach all the way to the ground. If you only think about practical down-to-earth things, you don’t see the big picture, now do you? The helicopter view is an important aspect.

The interesting thing was that fear also reached the management level. People at that level were scared the people below wouldn’t have the capability to think about the future. That tells a lot about the management if they feel they are the only ones capable of thinking about the future. I say if you guide people into the future and ask them to fly, they will think and use their brains to understand the work required.

In the final phase, some had the opinion that certain matters were left undiscussed. They were right in a sense. Before this process began the management group and members of the board sat in two workshops and defined the focus areas, that were important for them. A vast staff survey was used as a base for that discussion.

This survey helped to produce and crystallize the three focus areas, which were then discussed inside the divisions and then written (transformed) into a more practical form. We started to think and prioritize our thoughts during every meeting. This is how we found the grains of gold, which ultimately became the tough choices.

Summarizing everything on a single page

What you see below are a process and a funnel. We asked questions, wrote, and commented on our digital board. One division gave us 4090 comments, out of which 177 comments made the cut. Those were then grouped into breakthrough goals.

Breakthrough goals are bigger than normal goals because you go through (break through) the wall with them. They are all included in the Strategy 1Pager. Once you have thought about these a lot, everything has been evaluated from every relevant angle. The Strategy 1Pager is presented to the management and the board to give their comments on the output.

Figure on how a strategy process refines input over several workshops into a Strategy 1Pager, which paves the way for strategy implementation.

A cultural change

I was just at a board meeting telling them about this work process. I said:

“Before you look at the result and give comments, you should know these people have put their hearts into this work.”

A couple of wrong words can kill the atmosphere. The board listened. I also said if they have any ideas, let’s bring them to the table as well. They gave us three focus areas as a send-off, and that’s what we did.

When the company leadership reported their own strategy, one of them said:

“This is a cultural change in our company. We have never done it like this.”

All this leads to the result that people get on board. Everything changed only because they were given the possibility to think. And why did they have the possibility to think? Because technology exists. With little effort, we got everyone to participate. We didn’t need to travel across the country.

During the first workshop, someone said that if they had traveled to another city and tried to do all of this on their own with sticky notes, it would have been a disaster. It would have taken a week to get the same amount of work done as we did with online workshops. The result, however, would not have been the same because challenging happens through questions.

The talent lies in asking the right questions. It is the job of a professional to pull the information out of people’s heads. Technology enables this.

Result

This was the result. I asked the group for comments about the whole process, what was it like? Again, the answers were collected into a word cloud.

A word cloud (in Finnish) from the end of a strategy process that displays the participant feelings about the experience.

As you can see, there is the word tiresome. That’s exactly what it is if one is not used to doing processes at a fast pace. The pace is fast because the process is so expensive to do. Expenses double if the pace is slower (more time = more expenses).

The word confusing has sometimes come up. People form their perception of the world based on a certain image. Then when something comes up, that doesn’t fit their current perception of the world, things become confusing. This confusion is a good thing because that way new pathways in the brain form. It is, in fact, a very creative state, that allows people to update their perceptions.

Returning to our subject, there was a staff member who said that nothing changes if no one gets angry. That’s true, in the sense that this process had even more potential, because the feedback was so positive (we could have pushed further)!

This morning I held a dreaming workshop in a new organization, where the factory floor staff took part in the workshop through their phones. These people were also amazed at how their imagination was allowed to run freely. Together we thought it was miraculous. I told them:

“Look at everything your subconscious can store!”

When you get the whole group to implement them, it’s fantastic!

I wanted to share this case because this is such an important topic. It’s not enough to just have a good strategy that’s made and agreed upon inside a conference room high up in the ivory tower. The strategy has no value before it is implemented. The implementation requires that everyone is involved in the process and the strategy is ignited together! Strategy together, that’s the 🔑! 

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Planning

1.11 How to crystallize a strategy?

Stradigo

How to crystallize a strategy? – The Strategy 1Pager | 1.11

Share this blog

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

Today I’m talking about crystallizing a strategy. I will explain how a strategy is simplified and goals are clarified. I will also introduce my pride, the Strategy 1Pager, which allows the whole strategy to be crystallized onto a single page.

Let’s look at our loops once again.

A strategy journey has three phases, which I call loops. The first loop consists of renewing and directing the strategy. The second loop leads the implementation of the strategy, and it is linked to the first loop. If the implementation doesn’t happen, the whole strategy is pointless. The third loop is daily operative work.

Strategy framework with 3 loops. Direct, Prioritize, Act. This framework is used by Stradigo.

The first loop rotates quarterly. A bigger strategy round is done every now and then, however, the goals need to be updated more frequently. Have our goals been set? Do they need to be changed? How are we doing?

The second loop is about steering the strategy implementation, and it rotates weekly. What are the sub-goals and their functions? We prioritize and assign resources.

The third loop is all about implementation, and it rotates daily.

The three loops are linked together, and they rotate at different speeds. This is the whole strategy journey. It is very easy to think that the strategy process means strategic planning, the moment when the strategy is decided, and it is written down. However, in the above model this is only represented by the first loop. There are two other loops! This means that it’s better to understand the strategy journey as three full loops, not one.

Let’s focus on creating the strategy, which is the first loop. Often the end result of the strategy process is a thick pile of PowerPoint slides, and usually the contents on the slides are of very fine quality. But how well do people remember what is written on the slides? Can the strategy be crystallized and compressed into a tighter package?

Incredibly great strategy

A large stack of papers representing tasks that need to be done and a drawing of a person standing nearby sweating about this list of tasks.

Our company was born out of this idea. We at Stradigo concluded that strategies are incredibly finely made documents, so finely made that nobody can, in fact, implement them successfully. We felt that we need to help humankind by simplifying this.

When working with new customers I often get to have a look at their previous strategies. One time I was handed a 157-page presentation that was done the year before. It was so incredibly fine that as I browsed through it I thought to myself:

“OH MY GOD. What do these people even need me for?”

After I was over my shock, I realized that something has to be wrong if the presentation loses the train of thought constantly. According to the organization they had used old slide layouts, imported from previous companies. The quantity of the pages was blinding at first, but they ended up having clear problems in their strategy. This organization had predicted massive growth, however, nothing happened in the next four years, except that their profitability plummeted.

The strategy was wrong or too fine to be implemented. The layout was splendid, but when people tried to get the hang of it, it only made them sweat. The organization was left wondering if they would ever manage to implement it.

Strategy sales for the team

Simple drawing of a person holding a presentation in front of a large team. This represents selling the idea of the new strategy to the organization.

When a fine strategy is made in a conference room, the next step is to sell the idea to the staff. It begins with a large meeting where the CEO presents the strategy over an hour or two. People are extremely interested in listening, because they want to know how to continue into the future.

After the presentation comes the Q&A session, where someone raises their hand and, interestingly enough, always asks the same question:

“What does this mean in practice?”

The CEO has to give an example, but the thing is that these people should themselves figure out what it is in practice. I’ve talked about this before.

The reality

Drawing of two arrows containing people. One arrow splits off. The drawing represents a gap between management and the rest of the organization.

The reality, however, is often this. The board and management group have sat down for many workshops. They have crystallized a hard thing and found the catch, and they are very excited. Then this is explained to the others, but none of them really knows what to do in practice.

This is a HUGE problem. If the strategy isn’t implemented, what’s the use of it? All the work, money and energy has gone to waste. It’s devastating!

Drawing of a sector with a dotted arrow (surrounded by people) inside the sector. The arrow is moving towards a sun. This represents agile thinking.

Alternatively, one can ignite the strategy. Business owners get to decide the cornerstones and the direction they want to go in. They want to risk their money in some business and then say: “Please don’t go overboard.” Then they hire professionals that are interested in the company’s sun, the purpose for their customers.

The job is to find the best way to the sun. How do we help our customers? They have to be sailing every day, so to speak. They need to know the strategy so that they can sail towards the sun. We need a crystallized strategy, with simple enough frames. That is why we need the following.

Text: “Simplified together”

We need to simplify and demystify by crystallizing the strategy. I’ve been terrified while reading what some American professors write about strategy. The text is so difficult to understand, my goodness!

The other keyword is “together”. Simplify Together.

It’s all possible now thanks to technology, that multiplies efficiency, so it’s not time-consuming.

I just finished a strategy process for a billion-dollar company. We held three meetings with the entire staff. Have a guess how long the whole process took. The whole staff worked four hours and the workshop participants 15 hours altogether. That’s two and a half days to create a strategy.

Would you sacrifice four hours of work to be able to create a massive amount of energy that spurs people forward? Somehow it seems stupid not to do things this way.

We do it together!

This figure represents a full strategy process that contains workshops and digital boards that people can collaborate on during the process.

Let’s do things authentically together from the start! The first one-hour kickoff is held online with the whole group. After that there are workshops, which anyone can volunteer to attend. The volunteers sign up on a Trello board, and a group is formed! It’s also so wonderful to see young people take part in a strategy for the first time.

The staff meetings and workshops alternate in turns. Every meeting has its own digital board that enables everyone to write on cards. They’re like sticky notes, but digital and better. We use Trello for this.

People have their video cameras on during meetings, so they can all talk and write simultaneously on the board. With one click everyone can be sorted into break-out rooms, where they can converse in small groups. Finally, they write their conclusions on the digital cards.

Crystallizing a strategy onto a single page

Figure that describes how a one-page strategy is created through a process that summarizes a large number of input to a single page.

We often have three workshops and two staff meetings. No more two-day or even one-day sessions. No more travelling and polluting, no traffic jams, no wasting time! Let’s work from our current location.

Don’t sit in the conference room together! If some are sitting in a conference room and the rest are taking part online, the people in the room will converse with each other and the other half online won’t be able to catch what they’re saying.

No no no. INVOLVE EVERYONE! One can participate through phone nowadays. Earphones in and let’s go!

The strategy funnel

As you can see from the image above, the number of comments, represented by thin lines, is great. All of them are crystallized and compressed. They are prioritized, meeting by meeting, and only the top candidates make the cut. By working digitally, comments are always written down, which means everything gets documented at the same time.

No more colorful walls stacked full of sticky notes, which are transcribed into a file after a few days. Digital cards, on the other hand, can be zoomed in and the best ones can be voted with likes. The staff is then shown all that has happened in between the workshops.

The billion-dollar company strategy meeting collected 4080 written comments! The deciding factor is how they are crystallized. These 4080 comments were crystallized into 177 topics that were prioritized and they made the cut. Out of 177 cards the main themes and their focus areas were found. The whole process is absolutely solid! It, of course, requires some know-how have the energy to prioritize these comments, because nothing can be forgotten!

The company board gave a comment:

“But those people don’t know how to think about the future, they can only think operatively.”

It depends of course what kind of task one gives them! We dream in workshops and travel to the future with a time machine and choose trends.

We also think about paranoia and about what our competitors are doing. What enemy lives in us? How can we screw up this whole process? How do we turn the screw-up into a victory? What NOT to do?

These are the things that produced the 4080 comments, which were prioritized into 177 topics. Those were then compressed onto a Strategy 1Pager. It had a lot of things for the future. It’s somehow funny that in bigger companies the board and management group think they have some kind of a monopoly to understand the future.

The future doesn’t exist

I’ve mentioned the Swedish futurologist Kjell A. Nordström before. He once began a presentation with these words: “The future cannot be studied because it doesn’t exist.”

This reminds me of the words ‘intuition’ and ‘gut feeling’, and how it has become an annoying label today. You know what? The finest computer in the entire world is between one’s ears. If an expert gives their vision as to where the world is going, it is better to hear it from an expert than an amateur. It’s the expert’s point of view, but then here comes the criticism like this expert view is such a bad thing.

It’s based on a mathematical scientific paradigm, where the truth is only measured outside one’s head. But that’s measuring the past. Then one is not measuring the future, but only what is now.

All statistics can be utilized to see if the curve is going straight, up or down. The trends are visible, but no-one knows the future. A good vision, assumption or belief is worth gold.

All numbers are only guesses, because the future doesn’t exist. That’s why we need a vision where the business will succeed. Then we have key beliefs and assumptions about what’s going to happen. The strategy is built on top of those key beliefs.

If the beliefs are high-quality, the strategy will be high-quality. If the beliefs are not high-quality, meaning false, the strategy will be bad.

Beliefs and key assumptions aren’t usually even written down. They exist in the speeches of board meetings. The CEO holds a briefing about this meeting and the management group begins to work on the next strategy.

A one-page strategy

Finally, when the strategy process is completed,  crystallize it into a single page. It’s boiled down like a sauce. That’s when the big tough choices emerge. They have to be so tough that someone becomes anxious. If no-one becomes anxious, nothing changes! Because we want to steer the operation towards a better future, of course some things need to be terminated if they are outdated.

Think, a big company strategy can be done in just over two days! It’s absolutely amazing.

Representation of the Strategy 1Pager as an icon. It contains a sector, and a blue arrow that is moving inside the sector towards a sun.

The whole point of this text is to crystallize a strategy onto a Strategy 1Pager. Once you have that, you know what to do. A strategy is of course based on beliefs: Bad belief → Bad strategy. Good belief → Good strategy.

The talent is to take all visions inside the organization and compress them onto one page. The page needs to have those big tough choices written down, and there must not be too many!

The catch is to have the talent to do a Strategy 1Pager. The strategy becomes simple and bloody exciting.

Ignite your strategy by crystallizing your strategy! Read more.🔥

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.