Tag Archives: strategy

Need for a tailor made strategy!

By Syed Adeel

Is your business failing to capture full potential of a lucrative market?

Does your “One size fits for all” strategy not working?

Have you got an organization structure which is aligned with latest trends and technologies?

Is your overall business strategy well connected with real world?

If you are a business executive, such questions would pop up in your mind almost on daily basis. Sometimes you figure out the answer and other times you find yourself in doldrums, struggling to find the right direction to channelize your resources. This is where you need the services of strategy consultants who will aid you in connecting and shaping your thoughts and vision with the real world through a game plan.

In Pakistan, the role of strategy consultants has long been neglected and as a result businesses often fail to scale up to their full potential due to absence of any clear tailor made strategy. But gradually, with businesses getting more mature and the market dynamics fast changing; executives are realizing that they need companions to help them sail through uncharted waters.

Let some of your brainy work be outsourced and go for a tailor made strategy to fit your vision and needs.

Need for a balanced organization: Thinking + Doing

Henry Ford once wondered querulously, “Why is it that whenever I ask for a pair of hands, a brain comes attached?”

Imagine if Wright brothers had to take approvals from their manager, General Managers etc. to build an airplane; or Thomas Edison had to first satisfy his bosses for his 1093 patents. They would have never been able to contribute to this world what they have given with their crazy unique ideas rather their jobs could be in threat on account of insanity and stupidity.

There exists a dilemma for many Business leaders to tackle. Whether they should proceed and organize their resources in a well disciplined (Army like) way or they should compromise all this on account of openness. There are pros and cons for both the approaches and none of them can be termed as perfect.

Discipline, Chain of command is good enough and in a way it is necessary; especially when you compare your organization with an armed force. But such an organization can not be a source of generating unique crazy ideas. In such organizations, targets/objectives (one form of it is MBO- Management By Objective) are highly regarded by management. As a result, you will find many of the employees running after a piece of paper (i.e. target form) for the whole year; irrespective of the fact they may miss many other breakthrough opportunities by just limiting all their attention to a piece of paper; which may lead to lack of self initiative by the employees and they may consider themselves only as a tool for management. This sort of feeling can especially be prevailing in first line employees. In such an organization, best business is usually handled by the best personnel and the business with less attractive figures is handed over to someone less talented.The leader of such an organization likes to remain at shore, so as the sub-ordinates. As Einstein once said, “A ship is safe at shore, but this is not what it is meant for”. Toyota (being considered as one of the best practicing management organization) did not consider only objectives to be the path to success and believed that first-line employees could be more than cogs in a soulless manufacturing machine. If given the right tools and training, they could be problem solvers, innovators, and change agents. For organizations, who consider innovation as their critical success factor, it is indispensable that they should bring openness in their culture. But on the other hand, there is too much of risk involved in allocating resources to any crazy unique idea.

Before we move on to find out any solution, lets first take a glance of how Breakthrough Ideas get obstructed (you can add some more bullets).

How do Ideas die out?
Lack of Openness
Lack of Culture of respect
Idea generators not properly managed.
Experience given much more preference over Imagination.
‘Doers’ are given preference over ‘Thinkers’.
Employees threatened of failures.
Figures/Numbers are given more preference over capabilities.
Performance considered only for short term results.

Ideally, an organization should be where ideas get promoted and at the same time there exists discipline and a chain of command. The foundation for such an organization is laid by segregating Primary Thinkers and Primary Doers in your organization.

Start changing the roles of people to get different ideas across the organization.

Pricing: It is all about hitting the nail!

As it is said, strategy is not an exact science; there exist multiple possibilities and ways to reach the target goal post. For as long as you are moving in the right direction, you have to keep on figuring out ways to reach the goal post and do not in any way succumb to the pressure of scoring own goal (kidding :)). This holds true for strategies devised in various fields; be it war, sports, medical treatment, IT or business. Overall business strategy also encapsulates pricing strategy and there are certain areas which need to be kept in mind before deducing the final answer. It is tantamount to solving multiple equations with various variables, simultaneously. For others, it may seem just a simple answer as E=mc2 but deducing this conclusion involved playing with a list of variables. Few of the variables to be considered for deducing a meaningful price are mentioned below:

Products and services are made for generating value for customers

The ultimate purpose of any enterprise to exist is to generate value for its multiple stakeholders (not just shareholders). When products and services are formulated to deliver to customers, the ultimate aim should not be just profit making rather it should be delivering value to the customer. Say, a product which costs you $80, sold at a price of $100 should deliver value to the customer at $100+.This is cost plus pricing, an example can be an electrical component in a panel which may cost you $80 and you sell it to your customers at $100. But the true worth of that component is $100+ in the sense that if the component is not timely installed; it may result in a total shut down of the plant which may cost the customer millions of production loss.

Align product and service portfolio with market needs

Innovation is useless, if it cannot serve to enhance value for stakeholders. You have to understand the market and get a good grasp of what your target market really needs then align your portfolio of products and services with the market needs. Such analysis will assist in devising a better game plan and you can either adopt a market based pricing approach or economics driven (demand and supply based) pricing approach.

Understand your niche (target market)

To understand your niche, you need to have a good street smart mindset which would enable you to have first hand sense of the market. Based on that sense, you can develop a holistic approach for designing your product and services portfolio at an appropriate price. It is just like hitting the nail with a hammer.

Understand substitutes and competing products

If you do not have a good understanding of your competitors and substitutes, you would never be able to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You have to think what they think and how do they evaluate different options? From my personal experience, when I was leading the launch of Busway Systems in Pakistan for Siemens; I not only had to have good understanding of our competitors in busway system but also grasped a good understanding of substitute products i.e. cables. By doing so, I was in a better position to answer the concerns of persons sitting on the other side of the table.

Hope this helps you in framing a better strategy and spotting the right opportunities.