I was called to deliver a talk on the topic of “Strategize to win” in an event organized by SMB (Small Medium Business) connect forum. I didn’t want the talk to be of too much of technicality but to motivate the entrepreneurs to work on the strategy for their individual ventures.
I started with a story to explain what’s strategy:
Three fish lived in a pond. One was named “Strategy”, another was “Think” and the third was called “Silent”. One day they heard a fisherman say he would be going to cast his net in their pond the next day.
“Strategy” said,” I am swimming down the river tonight”.
“Think” said, “I am sure I will come up with a plan”.
“Silent” lazily said,” I just can’t think about it now”.
When the fisherman cast his nets, “Strategy” was able to escape from his nets. But “Think” and “Silent” were caught by the fisherman.
“Think” quickly rolled his belly up and pretended to be dead. “Oh, this fish is no good!” said the fisherman and threw him safely back into the water.
However, “Silent” ended up in the fish market
Strategy is not doing Indian Jugaad (Quick fixes), its certainly not building one more mobile app.
I continued with technical definition on corporate strategy by Igor Ansoff (1965) which goes like this:
The study of strategy is the part of the study of decision making which is “primarily concerned with external, rather than internal, problems of the firm”
Strategy, Planning and Tactics are different. Strategy is abstract & long term, Planning is concrete & short term and Tactics is step by step methods to accomplish your plan.
I gave an example that I read from Business Sutra book by Pattanaik.
Vishnu rides an eagle or garud, hr rests on the coils of a serpent, which is to say he has both a wide view and narrow view. Lord Ram went to forest exile immediately on asking, showing his sarpa-drishti / tactic vision, Lord Bharat not agreeing to be crowned / becone the king is showing garud-drishti / strategic vision.
I summarized with the idea of Blue Ocean Strategy, “create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant” from the book Mr.Chan Kim published by HBS.
Lastly I gave my six points to help in strategizing.
Strategize with Six
1. One World
Globalization is not a recent term. For thousands of years merchants have been trading around the world. For example, Romans complained 2000 years ago that their trade with India was draining their empire of bullions. The Portuguese protested in the 16th century that their hard won silver from South America was being lost to India. The British parliament echoed this refrain in 17th century and asked why east india company could not interest indians to buy more british goods. You need to realize the world is your market, you can’t be expecting to sell even in your locality a not fully crafted product.
2. Tribal leadership
Read the well written book on this subject written by Dave Logan, John King which elaborates on how the naturally occurring tribes of 20 to 15o people can be exploited for leadership objectives. You should have your best resource in the company head your HR, which is likely to be the CEO.
3. Timing is everything
Recall Winston Churchill saying “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Dr.Abdul Kalam once when returning after inspecting an Island the coast of Odisha, India, got caught in middle of ocean in a small boat that developed engine problem. He immediately instructed his team there which contained multi disciplinary people who were scared for their life, to prepare a blueprint to develop the island for next 25 years. The island is now India’s important missile test pad and is thriving with bio diversity. The island called Wheeler Island, is now called in honour of the former president as Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam island.
4. One piece at a time
Don’t try to tackle the entire problem at once. Attack it one by one. Assemble your vision one piece at a time. See Walt Disney company has assembled all the best character based assets over the years – Pixar, Marvel, Lucas (Star Wars).
5. Best in class
Remember your app is going to sit within 5mm to the best in the world.
6. Nature is simple.
Having seen the above 5, don’t complicate your strategy. As Noble Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus said “Every human being is an entrepreneur, You don’t need a college degree to be entrepreneur, you just need to believe in yourself. Nature is simple. It is only the Human mind and society that complicates“.
You can view the presentation below or download from here.