February 2015

Are your tactics are efficient?

All your tactics can be very effective and efficient to implement once they are tied directly to your larger strategy. You can quickly evaluate each tactics based on your companies values, personality, positioning, SWOT, and consumer needs.

Here is an example of the potential cost of neglecting to directly tie tactics to a larger strategy. During the Atkins Diet craze many baked goods companies who had solid growth for years were suddenly losing revenue. Sales and business development people were screaming for a diet product. Companies started reformulating their product line, designing new packages, creating new sales programs and new messaging—then the fad wore off. Their image of their company had now become convoluted, and getting back their market share likely was even more difficult.

This response was human nature. Of course, the natural response was to develop “diet products.” Without organizational guidelines that are stronger than the panic, what else would an entrepreneur do?

Since constant change seems to be the constant part of our business climate, re-creating  tactics would need to happen quite often without the overarching guidelines. The leadership team, or in some unfortunate cases an outside firm, would need to regroup again, put their heads together, and craft another set of actions they’d need to take immediately to respond to the new situation. Next, they’d need to create a new budget to support those actions, scrapping former efforts to adapt to the new situation.

It is possible that these are actually the correct actions for that moment in time, but how can you be confident that they are appropriate for the long-term goals of your company?

• How do you know this is the right direction and not just a new direction?

• In what ways should the new plan connect directly to former efforts and in what ways should it deviate?

• Will the return be worth reinventing internal procedures to support the changes?

• Will the company really be able to deliver on its new promise/direction?

• Does the marketing department or firm even care how hard all of these new tactics might be on the rest of he staff?

• What will be the cost to your image?

In short, there is no reason to risk your company’s future on a set of tactics that offers only the illusion of being rooted in a long-term plan. Use guidelines. It will help keep all tactics on track.

How to tackle the lies that damage a company.

Just be honest. It’s not that easy.

First it makes sense to start with facing the reality that lies are a lubricant for the culture inside your business—they can advance or destroy it. You cannot irradiate all lies nor do you need to. Does your associate really need to know their hair didn’t turn out well today?

Investigate your own motives. Access how much you value the health of your company. If this requires uncovering the truth about the entrenched beliefs about your company, your market, your current and potential buyers and your own ideas as compared to feeding your self-perception as a smart person with the best ideas.

Demand the truth. Ask directly for it. Keep asking for more. Establish at the beginning of the conversation that the rules are changing and when you ask what they think you really don’t mean “agree with me so I feel good about a decision I’ve already made.” Be clear that you are seeking insight based on the reality of the situation. Be persistent. Repeat this every time you request an opinion. It will take perseverance to break the established culture of lying. Teach your executive staff to demonstrate this behavior.

Learn how to investigate your personal and collective presuppositions. Writing them out in actual sentences or bullets is a great way to become aware of them. We make many assumptions in any decision process. Start with what you can unveil now and add to it whenever you become aware of another. It will become easier to recognize with practice. Eventually it will become a habit.

Make certain the problem is framed in reality before attempting to solve it. Develop the discipline to stop and ask the problem you are about to solve is really the one you need to be solving. Is there a problem that is deeper rooted? Is this problem based on uninvestigated presuppositions? Why do we think this is the problem? Because it’s always been the one we’ve been trying to solve or do we really this is the real problem?

Demonstrate how the truth can be gracefully told. If you aren’t certain how to do this, seek out help. There must be someone you know who has this skill. Often a great sales person will be a natural at this; however beware they are typically comfortable with bending the truth. Begin to change your own speech patterns and launch a company-wide effort that acknowledges the current state of the organizational culture.

And finally, truthfully, if you can’t pull this off, call us. It’s what we do.

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