Craig Apatov / Strategic Marketing Practice Leader
“We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.” – Vince Lombardi
It’s about time. In today’s business environment, it is the most precious commodity. As the pace of business increases, for example, they suffer from time poverty – too many things to do and not enough time to do them. This causes time compression – attempting to shoehorn more activities into a specific window of time.
To cope, business people must result to perusing, scanning and browsing. This is organizational A.D.D. caused by having less time to digest the relentless volume of voice mails, emails, texts, tweets, instant messages, minutes, reports, proposals, and presentations.
This creates a real risk of important things falling through the cracks which can have serious business implications.
Time poverty, time compression, and organizational A.D.D. puts increased pressure on an enterprise to successfully compete in an accelerated marketplace. This means companies need to fundamentally change the way it thinks, plans, and executes – streamlining its organization and processes to be quicker, smarter, and more agile.
This is Stratactix. Like the no-huddle in football, Stratactix is a fast-paced offense whose focus is reducing the gaps between thinking, doing and results to gain competitive advantage.
We believe Stratactix has 9 basic principles for success. They represent a manifesto of change to prevail in a fast, hyper-competitive marketplace.
1) Compete like an insurgent.
“You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.” – Yogi Berra
Others have a mission; insurgents are on a mission. Others don’t want to fail; insurgents are not afraid to fail. Others react; insurgents act. Others meet; insurgents conspire. Others ponder; insurgents do. Others deliberate; insurgents are deliberate.
2) The best offense is a relentless offense
“Success demands singleness pf purpose.” – Vince Lombardi
A relentless offense is one that understands that opportunities are fleeting and must be quickly capitalized on. It also understands that threats that surface must be quickly challenged. To effectively deal with both opportunities and threats, a disciplined and proactive process is required.
This process includes five stages – vigilance, curiosity, recognition, imagination, and action. In other words, a company must be vigilant of changing circumstances; curious about the potential impact on the company; recognize the opportunities and threats to the company; imagine potential solutions; and finally, take timely action.
3) No points are scored in the huddle
“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” – Vince Lombardi
The primary objective of an offense is to score. The primary objective of a company is to generate revenue. This happens as the result of acquiring and retaining customers.
Asked why he robbed banks, legendary bank robber, Willie Sutton famously replied, “because that’s where the money is”. Stratactical companies understand that sales is generated from customers “because that’s where the revenue is”. Less time spent deliberating in huddles is more time that can be dedicated to the pursuit of revenue.
4) Innovate to win
“Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing.” – Vince Lombardi
Stratactical companies understand that the currency of today is ideas. They are the seeds of innovation today and the wealth generators of tomorrow. A stratactical company, therefore, is one that continually ideates and innovates.
History has shown that innovative ideas can have the most unlikely of origins. They can come from anyone, anywhere, and at anytime.
The first Apple, for example, came to life in a suburban California garage. The first airplane took shape in an Ohio bicycle shop. Facebook and Google were conceived on university campuses. Microsoft was started by two college drop-outs.
Stratactical organizations are those that understand that success is predicated on recognizing and nurturing the next great idea whoever and wherever it comes from. They understand that innovation is a relentless pursuit that separates the winners from the losers in business.
5) Compete with yourself
“If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.” – Vince Lombardi
For stratactical organizations, success is not a goal, it’s an obsession. It understands that their fiercest competitor is themselves. Circumstances change rapidly and complacency is a weakness that can be exploited by competitors. It is imperative, therefore, that a company relentlessly competes with itself. The following steps are a self discipline to attain and maintain competitive advantage.
Analyze “What is going on?
Adapt “What do we plan to do?
Adopt “How do we plan to do it?
Assess “How are we doing?”
Adjust “What do we need to change?”
6) Avoid unforced errors
“The team that makes the fewest errors in a game usually wins.” – Paul Brown, Cleveland Browns
Unforced errors are self-inflicted penalties that stifle business momentum. It’s called “business prevention”.
To avoid them, five key ingredients need to be defined and working in concert. These include a strong and clear vision, a team with strong skill sets, dedicated resources, and a concise action plan specifying the who, how, when, and what to achieve the desired result.
7) Plan boldly; execute quickly
“In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
Stratactix is an aggressive approach that believes competitive advantage lies in reducing the gap between ambition and achievement.
Ambition has three components – aspiration, challenging the status quo, and a clear and aggressive time line. A bold plan slowly executed is vulnerable to exploitation by opportunistic competitors.
8) Scan the playing field for exploitable insights
“The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows” – Aristotle Onassis
In simple terms, an exploitable insight is something that you know that your competitors don’t know that results in an exploitable opportunity. Stratactical organizations are those that gather relevant information which is distilled into proprietary intelligence that generate actionable insights.
9) Field the best team
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs
These are people who have the talent, passion, and determination to succeed against all odds.
Cases in point, Thomas Edison only had three months of formal education. Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and Mark Zuckerberg never finished college. Steve Jobs had a liberal arts degree. All had little experience in their ultimate field of endeavor. None had a resume that would have put them in consideration for a senior corporate position in today’s world of business. Yet they all possessed the three common critical traits of talent, passion and determination. These are the people who create exponential value to the enterprise. The lesson is to look beyond the resume in fielding the best team.
The Principles of Stratactix are designed to create a company whose core competencies are speed, smarts, precision, and teamwork to reduce the gap between planning, execution and results to create competitive advantage.