Risk or Negativity?

Risk or Negativity?

Are you part of an organization incurring NO RISKS, or without negative concerns crossing your desk? If you think so, you’re unaware or have a blinder risk. 

Did you know leaders can easily mix up a Risk and Negativity – Negative Opinion – if they are not careful? Why? Because Leaders are busy and responsible for the overall business, including its performance, growth, and employees. Leaders are expected to outperform the competition in an increasingly globalized marketplace. They are preoccupied and have very little time left for the Debbie Downers in the business.

Only you know how you assess the issues that cross your desk, whether the risks are evaluated based on merit or discounted due to personal biases. Biases such as the person’s negative tone, the negativity of the issue, or how the issue was raised. This article discusses tips and strategies to minimize biases while providing strategies to effectively discuss and differentiate between risk and negativity.

Risk is not a bad word“. Do you know any team that sees risk as a bad thing, people who perceive risks as criticisms or a personal attack on their performance? Teams that labelled risk bearers as people who saw the glass-half-empty, negative or pessimistic. Experience reveals that the topic of risk makes most people uncomfortable, which can lead to premature dismissal of a risk as negativity. What can be done if this is a possibility is to build awareness, develop the awareness to differentiate between risk and negativity and recognize the subtle behaviours and prejudices that can cause someone to discount risk as mere negativity.

What is a Risk?

A basic definition of Risk is Risk is the possibility of something going wrong. In a business environment, risks are dependent on other business activities. More commonly, risks are discussed in conjunction with a new investment, project or the decision to do something differently. The business decision to take action is designed to achieve a result that would not be possible otherwise. The actions create the opportunities within which the risk can happen.

The downside of avoiding risk is the business continuing on its current path – playing it safe – which, based on current projections, will cause the business to stagnate, decline, or incur losses. This reminds me of one of my all-time favourite quotes by Charles Darwin,  “It’s not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.” Business needs to evolve to survive.

It is important to recognize that Risks are not simple subjective statements of possible adverse outcomes but Analytical Hypothetical Theories comprising the following characteristics.

  • A Decision can lead to certain risky events happening in the future. However, there are no guarantees that the events will occur, only a likelihood that the events could occur.
  • The business will suffer Negative Consequences if the risky events do occur.
  • The business will determine if the negative consequence is something that it will accept as an acceptable cost for growth or a consequence to be minimized.
  • The business can minimize or eradicate the negative consequences of the risk only if they act. The business can assess whether there are Actions that can either reduce the negative impact of the threat or eradicate it.

If the business ought to grow, improve and survive against new and existing threats, the business must take on risks – A logical though unpleasant activity inherent in the management of a business.


Negative feedback, opinions, or concerns are conclusions made without any logical reason to support the conclusion. It can be construed as a fear response to a decision or action taken by the business.

There is value in someone having instincts based on experience; however, it is not acceptable to use years of experience as the only justification. A responsible person will not ignore their intuition but apply critical thinking to evaluate it. At a minimum, the person should state, based on their experience, the evidence indicates that if certain actions are pursued, the following events will occur, which will negate the benefit of the action in the following ways, and list out the impact on the business; and use their experience to provide the context within which others can use to evaluate their concern.

It is worthwhile to be mindful that negativity has no logic behind it. No case can justify taking up the valuable time of your busy leaders to consider your negative opinions. If a negative opinion is worth discussing, it is the responsibility of the person raising the issue to engage in some critical thinking; otherwise, they risk their contribution being discounted. And remember, as aspiring leaders, it is worthwhile to engage in critical thinking as often as possible; it will create better arguments both for and against an idea and elevate you as a thought leader in the business.

Why are Risks Not Simply Someone’s Negative Opinion?

There was a recent public debate on “unconscious bias”. On the one hand, it was argued that it is the organization’s responsibility to educate their teams on unconscious bias; while the opposing argument was, how could you know if it is unconscious bias? This logic cannot be used to differentiate between risks and just negativity.

Why? Because it’s the leader’s responsibility to equip themselves with the tools necessary to effectively evaluate risk. Leaders know that there are both know-unknowns and unknown-unknowns when it comes to identifying and managing risks, and they cannot rely on others to think for them. They recognize that they cannot just discount negative feedback but follow the thinking of the person raising the issue to evaluate whether it’s a risk or not.

  • Risks are founded on Sound Business Judgement, Information and Scenario Forecasting. At the same time, Negativity lacks insights and is based on emotions, fear or being overly cautious, without any evidence to support the concern.
  • Risk promotes the proactive management of the business, task, or project, while Negativity promotes judgements and arguments.

Thus, whether an issue is a potential risk or an overly pessimistic reaction is not always immediately apparent. If not, here are a few questions to help evaluate the issue to determine whether it’s a risk or pessimism.

  • Why is this a concern?
  • How will it impact the task, project or business?
  • What information do you have to support this thinking?
  • What further information do I need to determine if further action is required?
  • What are the consequences of ignoring this concern?
  • What are the consequences of pursuing this concern?
  • What resources do I need to redirect to evaluate this concern, and is it worth it?
  • What are the scenarios that will make this thinking a reality?
  • What if anything can be taken to avoid negative consequences?

Why are Risks easily confused for Negativity?

Risks are easily confused for Negativity and vice versa because Risk and Negativity share several superficial traits. Superficial because they appear the same only at the surface level; when digging a little deeper, risks are not just an adverse knee-jerk reaction to some activity in the business.

  • Both Risk and Negative Opinions are possible adverse outcomes if the business decides to pursue certain activities. Risk is a result of an analytical process, clearly that there is a likelihood of a negative consequence if certain conditions are met. At the same time, negativity results from unsubstantiated fear or worry.
  • Both Risk and Negative Opinions are discussed with a degree of urgency and concern. Risks discussion takes the form of an assessment discussion, while negative opinion takes the form of complaining.
  • Both Risk and Negativity are possible negative future outcomes. Risk is a possible forecasted outcome if certain conditions are met, while negativity is the fear bad things will happen if the business decides to move forward with a decision.
  • Both Risk and Negative Opinions are the results of either an action or a decision the business is considering. Risk is a discussion of possible things that can go wrong with a plan to prevent it while working towards acquiring the benefits of this action. While on the other hand negative opinion is a recommendation not to pursue the planned action for fear that something will go wrong.

In addition to the above Risk and Negativity superficial traits, other reasons why risk can easily be perceived as just another glass-half-empty point of view.

  1. Communication Strategy: When people are concerned or worried about something going wrong, they often start the conversation with the most urgent news first – the bad news. The news people can interpret as negativity.
  2. Timing: Poor timing is another reason people may rashly judge an attempt to discuss risk as negativity. If you spring bad news on their supervisor at an inopportune time, your supervisor is more likely to view the information as negative; especially if they lack the time or context to consider it further.
  3. Personalities: It is not logical, right or wrong, and not something anyone wants to admit; however, there is no denying the fact that some conversations are more effortless with people who are like us; and much more difficult with people who oppose us – opposes our style or preference. It is much easier to conclude that the news bearer is negative when their personalities conflict with our own.

Experience makes it easier for leaders to differentiate risk from an over-concern employee’s negative opinion. However, even with experience and tenure, some issues will cross a leader’s desk that will challenge them. When it is not obvious whether an issue raised is a risk, start by gleaning more information using the questions listed above, and use the risk characteristics discussed to differentiate risk from an opinion; and remember, the risk is based on a logical assessment of possible future conditions that can result in potential losses.

A word of caution, avoid labelling staff as negative, or the glass-half-empty type of people, because:

  • Business is a fluid entity in which things are always evolving. At times risks may not be fully fleshed out in the minds of employees; however, with some guidance and a collaborative discussion, the ideas can be fully developed or confidently ruled out. This process is also a valuable coaching opportunity for leaders as they develop their teams. There was this incident a few years back in which an employee raised a high impact, high likelihood risk with their supervisor. The risk was dismissed for reasons that were unsatisfactory to the employee, who was visibly concerned. However, the risk materialized later, costing the business a material sum and a customer. Suffice to say; the cost would have been insignificantly less if the issue had been addressed when raised.
  • Not everyone is a savvy communicator, and when put in the spotlight to address a complicated issue with an impatient group, the stress of the situation can override the urgency and importance of the issue. When nerves and fear compound concerns, it can exasperate the situation making the message more aggrieved than the communicator intended. Ruling it out as negativity instead of a possible risk.

Thus far, the focus has been on leaders, the people having to determine whether the issue raised is a risk or not. Despite knowing, it is a leader’s responsibility to lead; an employee raising a risk also has a responsibility to ensure that they get their facts straight and do some due diligence – critical thinking – before discussing with their boss. It would benefit them significantly to minimize the chances that they are crying wolf. The next section focus on the employee, the person who is responsible for bringing a possible risk to the attention of their supervisor.

Strategy to Discuss Risk.

Whether you’re a leader, an aspiring leader, or a subordinate, communication is about conveying your message in a way the receiving party understands. Effective communication is about understanding what is important, how the message will be communicated and when best to communicate the message. If communication is such a common everyday activity; then why are so many messages dismissed and critical information missed? Because; the person communicating their message was not able to communicate their thoughts clearly, and/or the person receiving the message either did not have the time or was not interested in decoding it.

It is understood that the bigger the impact on the risk bearer, the more emotionally charged they may be, and the greater the likelihood that the message will be communicated poorly. It is equally likely that the message will not be received well and will be easily dismissed. Pay heed to your emotional response to the different risk situations you find yourself in, pause, take a breather and think through the risk in the steps below. Do the work and improve your chances that your boss will entertain your concern. Don’t do the work and risk being dismissed. 

1. Analyze your Bad News:

Whenever someone anticipates something bad that could potentially happen, it is their responsibility to put that concern into perspective so the people responsible can understand and act. Avoid dramatization and sensationalization to get their attention. Initially, dramatization may work; however, eventually, people with catch on and your strategy will fail because no one likes the sky is always falling strategy.

It is highly recommended if time permits to do some diligence before interrupting your boss with a potential concern. Review the questions above, and gather some information before approaching your boss. If this thinking is new to you, it may take some effort initially; however, with practice, you will be able to assess each concern much more efficiently.

Caution, if the issue is time sensitive and critical, do not sit on it trying to evaluate it yourself.

2. Understood “facts”:

When deciding how to communicate bad news to others, it is important to understand the possible impact of that news on the other person. Sine understood “facts” to consider.

  • It is understood that when some people anticipate news they don’t want to hear, they automatically tune you off. If this is the case with your supervisor, then be mindful of this fact and find ways to reframe the news in a way that will not lose their attention.
  • It is understood that the less likely the negative event is, the more likely it is to be park it. Understanding that leaders are frequently bombarded by urgent imminent issues; if it is not detrimental or communicated with urgency, it risks being discounted. If this is the case, find a way to share the urgency and criticality of the issue without inflating it.
  • It is understood that the more complicated an issue, the more likely the urgency or importance will not be communicated and the greater the likelihood it will be dismissed. Complexity requires focus and someone’s attention. If your supervisor’s attention is in limited supply, find a way to summarise it so they understand the urgency in one minute or less. Once you capture their attention, they will dedicate the time to hear you out.
  • It is understood that if something isn’t relevant to the person, it can be minimized or dismissed. If you want your supervisor to pay attention, determine how it would impact them and ensure the importance is communicated.

3: Use the You Frame:

Dale Carnegie’s training teaches us that the best way to get a person’s attention is to talk about what is valuable to them, and what is interesting to the other person. He also advised that the best way to get someone to listen to what you have to say is to speak about them to them. This concept is referred to as using the You-Frame. The You-Frame restructures the message using the word “You” instead of “I”, “Me”. When you use the word “you”, it makes the message about them, grabbing their attention.

Caution: Do not make something about the other person if it is not about them. But, frame your communication from their perspective as it emphasizes the importance of this issue to them, thus encouraging further discussion on the topic.

4: Structure and Presentation:

Structure and Presentation are at the core of effective communication. It is even more important to communicate effectively when the stakes are high when there is a very real risk that jeopardizes your project, your supervisor, the business or you. It is important to develop the skills to concisely communicate this risk in a manner that is easy to understand to bring attention to the urgency and importance of the issue.


  • State the Risk;
  • State the Impact on the Business, Person, Project or item;
  • State the urgency of risk;
  • State the help needed and by when.

Presentation guidance:

  • Communicate clearly, avoid being too wordy;
  • Avoid repeating yourself;
  • Avoid exaggeration, dramatization, or overly stating the importance;
  • Use professional language;
  • Avoid assigning blame;
  • Avoid or minimize emotional outbursts; and
  • Do not make it personal.

The above procedure will provide context, urgency and sufficient information for your supervisor to determine the urgency of the issue and, if they deem it necessary, to allow time to discuss further or dismiss it with an explanation.

In Summary.

It is unacceptable for leaders to assume the position “what you don’t know you are not responsible for” or “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”. Leaders are responsible for the business and must operate at a higher, more responsible level. So when information crosses their desk, it is their duty to evaluate it properly, to make an informed judgment using rationale and logic, not render it useless based on biases.

It is straightforward for someone to conclude that a possible risk is just some Debbie Downer seeing ‘The Glass Half Empty’. However, Regardless of how busy you are, there are effective critical thinking strategies to help determine whether the issue raised is a risk and tips and insights to minimize biases when making that decision.

As a bonus, the strategies serve as an excellent critical thinking risk determination framework for aspiring leaders.

Finally, even if you are an aspiring leader, take ownership of your issue assessment and risk communication. Gather the information, think through the issue using the guidelines provided and formulate your strategy so your point gains the attention you want it to get while developing your critical thinking skills, which will gain the respect and admiration of your peers and supervisors.

The only challenge is putting in the effort to be more effective in either your role as a leader or employee when evaluating whether a concern is a risk or a fear response to be dismissed with an explanation and avoid labelling anyone as either a Debbie Downer or someone who sees the Glass Half Empty or being labelled as a rash and dismissive leader.

Final Act:

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or want to find other cost-effective, minimally disruptive strategies to help your business. Strategy@nmcorporatestrategy.com; 289-201-2245.

Be Strategic!

Written by Nallanie Manick, Principal & Founder @ NM Corporate Strategy Inc.

Practical Competitive Advantage for SMBs


When we think about Competitive Advantage; we automatically think of Michael Porter, Market Research, TAM, SWOT, Five Forces, Competitive Analysis; or some intensive, expensive project only a few or large organizations can afford. Projects that are both intimidating and overwhelming for SMBs – small-and-medium size businesses.

Competitive Advantage can be intimidating and overwhelming for SMBs.

This article dives into a Practical Competitive Advantage Solution specifically for SMBs.

As Founders, Entrepreneurs, when we start a business, we start it with a certain Dream or Vision in mind. Something fundamental we would like to achieve through the business. Then as time passes and we get caught up in the day-to-day struggles; fighting to win that customer, competing against the competitors, building a team, and adjusting so we can keep up with the changes in the environment; our Dream or Vision fades. The Vision fades because, during the Survival Stage of the business, SMBs are forced to choose between pursuing their Vision and pursuing Sales, meaning going where the money is—an obvious decision for SMBs in survival mode.

Steve Jobs – iDownloadBlog

This struggle isn’t unique to just SMBs. It is present in all businesses with very few exceptions. Even large organizations like Apple struggled in the first decade of its existence to decide how best to achieve its ‘Founding’ Vision while deciding on how best to operate the business to gain a Competitive Advantage—resulting in Apple losing sight of its Vision over time, due to the compounded effect of None Strategically Coherent Competitive decision.

By 1997, Apple Inc., having gone out of sync with its Vision, resulted in the Historical Pivotal Point in Apple’s History. Despite being advised against it, Steve Jobs made the well-debated decision to cut over 70% of Apple Product lines, streamlining its Product and Operations in line with Apple’s Founding Vision.

Since this decision, the Pivotal Point in Apple’s History, Setting a Strategically Coherent Operating Mandatory Precedence for Apple moving forward, it can be argued that this was the reason behind Apple’s success and why Apple is “The World Most Valuable Company today – 2022.”

Capacity to Execute.

An Organization Capacity to Execute resides in the Leaders’ resourcefulness. Resourcefulness in utilizing the business’s resources to execute Competitive Advantage Strategies to win in the market. To win against the competitors. Not all businesses are created equally, and regardless of a business’s size and resources, all businesses have limitations that constrain business competitiveness in one way or another. Limitations such as:

  1. Leadership Capabilities,
  2. Staff Skillset,
  3. Organization Access to Funding or Money to pursue Competitive Advantage Strategies,
  4. The Market Access,
  5. Environmental / Governmental Factors,
  6. Technology.

Despite the constraints and limitations constricting the business, leaders are responsible for making the best decision for the business, Strategically Coherent Competitive Decision which; Hopefully the Business is Able and Equipped to Execute. The reality is that Leaders are often juggling multiple competing priorities, assessing Opportunity Cost, Cost- Benefits, and Prioritizing what can be compromised without compromising the business’s overall health.

Often, it leads to making decisions with Limited Insights, Limited Knowledge of its Limitations and Constraints, resulting in decisions that the Business may not necessarily have the Capacity to Execute. When the Business’s Capacity to Execute is overestimated, and the business decides to pursue Competitive Advantage Initiatives, it does not have the Capacity to Execute. The business is forced to reassign valuable resources from its Priorities to Initiatives of Lesser Importance. Compromising the Business in one way or another, which, when compounded over time, widens the Strategic Gap and erodes the Business’s Competitive Advantage.

Competitive Advantage.

In today’s ever-evolving environment, Leaders are shifting the conversation from Complex Competitive Advantage to; the more manageable Value Proposition. Given that Value Proposition is only a small subset of Competitive Advantage, Value Proposition should not be considered by any means necessary a comprehensive Competitive Advantage Strategy. Also, it is important to note that the more resources and capabilities organizations have, the more comprehensive their Value Proposition or Competitive Advantage Strategies will be.

Technology Disruption is another factor that justifies the shift from Competitive Advantage Strategy to the more economical Value Proposition Strategy. It only makes sense that given the fast pace with which technology is changing the competitive landscape, businesses have opted to NOT invest significant time and money just to develop short-lived strategies.

However, Businesses and SMBs do not have to compromise the business Competitive Advantage, but instead SMBs can adapt their Strategy from executing the Traditional Competitive Advantage Strategy to executing a more Modern Competitive Advantage Strategy.

Modern Competitive Advantage.

Modern Competitive Advantage is a shift in Competitive Advantage Strategy to one that is Executable, Flexible, and Adaptable to the changes in the micro-and-macro environments. Modern Competitive Advantage comprises

  1. Fuelling your Target Market with Immediate Gratification, while
  2. Fuelling the Business with Insights to Develop and Maintain Relevance in the Market, and
  3. Taking Decisive Action.
Fuelling your Target Market with Immediate Gratification.

To Fuel your Target Market with Immediate Gratification means to serve your Current Customers so they experience feelings of Gratitude towards the SMB or Appreciation for the Products/Services purchased. This strategy is based on the fact that everyone loves Recognition and to be Appreciated. This is true regardless of their job, status or position. I have worked in many organizations, and the best and most influential strategy is to genuinely recognize people for their contribution. To Appreciate Their Effort. To Demonstrate Gratitude for their Patronage.

However, it is critical that the strategy you adopt to Fuel your Target Market with Immediate Gratification; is genuine, not fabricated or does not come across as manipulative or disingenuous. If your customer walks away feeling manipulated, it will have the opposite effect, thereby creating a Competitive Disadvantage for the business.

Say My Name.

“Say My Name” is a perfect example of how Starbucks Fuel its Target Market with Immediate Gratitude.

Starbucks appeals to what is most important to a person, their name. With every order, the Starbucks representative is trained to gleefully request the customer’s name for the order, then repeat their name to ensure that they got it right. An act which immediately triggers a feeling of importance in the customer, a sense of being recognized in the most fundamental way; by their name.

The psychology behind this strategy is quite simple, within three seconds or less, the customer went from being unknown to someone with a Name, the Best Name, their Name! This simple act of actively acknowledging someone’s name appeals to the person’s sense of importance, their identity; leaving them with a feel-good feeling. Someone whom people in the immediate vicinity now know by name. Genius, isn’t it? Most people cannot walk away from this experience without feeling a few inches taller.

Now compare the Starbucks ordering experience with that of other Coffee Shops, where the person behind the counter asks what they want, sometimes repeating their order to confirm that they got the order correctly, followed immediately with the price of the order. Regardless of the level of service, the courtesy of the person behind the counter, or the quality of coffee, the Starbucks experience is by far superior to that of the other Coffee Shops; simply because it is personal to the patron.

What is even more impressive with the Starbucks Strategy is that it COST Nothing and is SIMPLE and EASY to Execute. There is no additional training required, no additional material required, and no significant delays to sales turnaround. It can even be argued that it could potentially slow down the line; however, it can also be argued if it slowed down the line, based on the experience and the Starbucks ambiance, the slowed-down line is not noticeable to impact the patrons’ experience.

The Gift.

The Gift is another Common Strategy Organizations use to create a sense of immediate gratification in their customers for their patronage. Recently I had to change my eyeglasses because one night after working on my bed, I rested my glasses on the case with the handles hanging out and managed to accidentally slam shut the case on the handle, damaging the frame. This is my fourth purchase of eyeglasses but my first Appreciative Experience. In all my other experiences, I felt rushed, as if I was at the mercy of the salesperson, and the business rules and regulation designed to make their customers uncomfortable. I left my previous Optometrist feeling slightly deflated, a few hundred dollars short, and a piece of paper to come back within the next few weeks to collect my eyeglasses.

In my last purchase from Optical Connection, the minute I walked in I was greeted by a well-dressed individual eager to serve me, while the entire visit was engaging and attentive to my needs when I walked out, even though a few hundred short with a piece of paper to collect my eyeglasses within the next two weeks, I also walked out with a brown paper gift bag containing items to help me take care of my new eyeglasses. No glasses but a pleasant appreciative experience. Did I feel Gratitude? Most definitely. I was so pleased with Optical Connection service, I decided to move my family over to their practice and tell anyone willing to listen of their exceptional service and Free Gifts.

Fuelling the Business with Insights to Develop and Maintain Relevance in the Market.

An Organization Competitive Advantage Relevance is the business’s ability to continuously improve its Products & Services while evolving the business to continue to survive in the Ever-Changing Competitive Environment.

Traditional management thinking led us to believe that in order for SMBs to transition to a high-performing competitive company, SMBs needed to invest in some expensive transformative project. A project studying the market, identifying what wins and then investing in the People, Resources, Tools, Systems, and/or Partnerships before they can effectively compete. This is not necessarily the case. SMBs can shift their management practice to one which builds insights while executing Small Impactful Strategic yet Competitive Actions that are designed to win customers over while strengthening the organization to win in the short-, and medium; and positioning the business to win in the long term; By Shifting to a Competitive Advantage Management Practice.

A Competitive Advantage Management Practice achieves two things:

  1. The business adopts a Listening, Learning and Serving Management Practice.
    • The leadership Listens to the feedback from their Staff, Competitors and Customers,
    • The Leadership Learns from Past Experience, and
    • The Leadership adopts a Service Mentality. Serving the needs of their Customers and Staff.
  2. Management makes continuous Micro-Competitive Improvements to its business.
    • The Listening, Learning and Servicing Operating Practice unveils Valuable Competitive Insights that signal exactly what the business must do to be more competitive while staying on its Strategic Path.

Effectively, SMBs cannot compete the way larger organization competes; they lack the capabilities, resources and access available to larger organizations. SMBs must think Economically Strategic, Stay True to their Vision and be willing to Serve at a Higher Level than their competitors are willing to serve.

Taking Decisive Action.

The Harsh Reality is that Businesses that Struggles, more likely than not, Struggles NOT with Strategies but, WITH Execution.

There is an avalanche of reasons why, and often it is not a lack of resources or capabilities but, the perseverance and determination to take Decisive Action. Taking action in the face of uncertainty and taking the next right step.

In my expert opinion, this is often because SMBs are competing in an aggressive and ever-changing environment where information is limited, and SMBs are forced to make decisions littered with uncertainty. A deterrent that causes less risk-averse leaders to hesitate, to procrastinate until they are more assured of their actions. Some assurance that their efforts will lead to some level of desired results, missing out on the opportunity in the process. What is the saying?

“The Early Bird catches the Worm”, the SMB that acts first is more likely to win than the SMB that is waiting for guarantees.

SMBs are interested in becoming more competitive; to Develop & Maintain a Sustainable Competitive Advantage; Listen, Learn, Serve and Take Decisive Actions, making micro-competitive transformational changes to the business. So, the business Products & Services Wows, Wins and continues to Win in an Ever-Changing Competitive Market.

SMBs Capacity to Execute.

It is important at this time to differentiate SMBs’ Capacity to Execute a Sustainable Competitive Advantage from that of larger organizations with the resources, to invest in the relevant Management and Strategy Consulting services to develop a Comprehensive Competitive Advantage Strategy it can execute.

Our recommendation for SMBs and any organization interested in effecting change is to Start with the Organization’s Capacity to Execute. All businesses, regardless of their size are limited in one way or another, and because of this fact, have restrictions that affect the Organization’s Capacity to Execute. An Adaptable, Flexible, Economical Strategy any business can utilize is to Start with Intentionality. The intentions to:

  1. To Understand the SMB Limitations & Constraints,
  2. To Understand the SMB’s Capacity to Execute,
  3. To Develop a Competitive Advantage Management Practice, and
  4. To Take Decisive Action.

Intentionality comes when the Leadership considers all elements of their Unique Business while focusing on Purposely Developing and Leading a Competitive Business.

Practical Competitive Advantage.

The saying Go Big or Go Home is a convenience only few can afford.

Competitive Advantage Strategies that are based on an intensive study of the business, industry, its trends, competitors, new entrants etc. are all great, but not practical for most SMBs. What is top of mind for most SMBs is survival. How to manage the business to make a profit, retain customers and if they are lucky increase sales. A business, whether an SMB or larger. If the business is consumed with its survival, the SMB isn’t focusing on achieving market dominance, or on weeding out the competition. Survival and that next Sale is Top of Mind.

If the SMB is not on the Decline to the Death Stage of the BLC (Business Life Cycle) and has some room to maneuver for a few more years, then it is NOT too late for the SMB to turn things around. In addition to adopting a Competitive Management Practice, a Practical Competitive Advantage, Capacity to Execute must include “Respect”

  1. Respect for Customers: After all Customers; pay the bills.
  2. Respect for Staff: After all Staff is the Face and Personality of the business and The Staff’s collective behaviour and practice determines the business Culture and Brand; NOT the Business “Values” defined in its Corporate Strategy.
  3. Respect the competitors. Odd I know! Competitors are your Competitors because they have Earned That Right. Their performance attracts the customers you would like.
    • When SMBs respect their competitors, they are able to see clearly what their winning Competitive Strategy is, and how they differentiate.
    • I strongly recommend that SMBs avoid Playing Second Fiddle Strategy. Do not copy the Competitor’s Strategy, simply because the SMB is not privy to the insights into the Competitor’s Capacity to Execute. As such, the SMB may not necessarily have the Capacity to Execute if it decides to copy the Competitor’s winning strategy.

With Respect for Customers, Staff & Competitors, SMBs have equipped their companies with the utmost Capacity to Execute Competitive Advantage Strategies; which will:

  • Strengthen the SMBs Brand,
  • Win New Customers, 
  • Improve Proactiveness,
  • Increase Sales,
  • Increase Insights & Resources, allowing the SMBs to get to the next level of Competitive Advantage, Micheal Porter’s level. 


Instead of going after the Big Fishes, our Recommendation is that SMBs find out what is Unique & Specific about their business, the Reasons Why Customers are attracted to the business, and leverage those Insights to Develop and Execute a Competitive Advantage Strategy; the SMB has the Capacity to Execute.

At NMCS we have the Tools and Strategies – Services SMBs can afford – to help SMBs get to their Capacity to Execute Competitive Advantage. SMBs have options when it comes to becoming more Competitive, however, the SMBs cannot compete the way the medium-to-large organizations do. SMBs have to take a more Modern Competitive Advantage Approach and Execute their Competitive Advantage within a “Respect” Framework to compete effectively.

Plant the Seed: Focus on the Vision, Start Small, and Start with What you have! 

Nurture the Plant: Honour your trade, Honour your Customer, Honour your Staff, and Honourable Practice! 

Reap the Fruits of your Labour: See how these Simple Strategies Slowly, Steadily and Stealthily Improve the SMB Competitiveness.


Be Strategic!

Compete Strategically!

Boost Strategic Planning and Strategy Execution

What Causes Strategy Failure?

The data tells us that the majority of strategy projects failed. Either Failing outright or failing to deliver the desired results, the results management used to justify the investment in the first place. Why?  When executives step back and reflect, the root cause is because of one or more of the following:

  1. Strategic Misalignment
  2. Silo Trap
  3. Implementation Misalignment

Strategic Misalignment

Henrik Kniber Misalignment

What is Strategic Misalignment? 

Strategic Misalignment results from the compounded effect of decisions that are not aligned with the Business’s Corporate Strategy; each decision widens the gap between the business’s current state and its Strategic Path.

Practically, unless leaders intentionally and mindfully manage the business’s daily activities to ensure alignment with its Corporate Strategy, it is not easy to identify Strategic Misalignment until after the business performance is impacted. Evident when the actions to get the business to get back on track to achieve its goal is disruptive and expensive; and when the phrase “Course Correct” is used to describe the urgency of the situation.

What causes Strategic Misalignment? 

It would be cruel yet correct to say that the root cause of Strategic Misalignment is bad decisions – inferring that these decisions were uninformed or intentional. Though correct, this is an absolutely useless statement because it provides no context or information on how to get back on track. No solution. No guidance. It is more relevant and helpful to state that the Root Cause of Strategic Misalignment is the decision-making process and the quality of the information considered when deciding.

“The Root Cause of Strategic Misalignment is the Decision-Making process and the Quality of the Information used when making Decisions.”

One more note on a business becoming Strategic Misaligned. A business does not become Strategically Misaligned because of one or a few uninformed decisions but after a prolonged period and practice of making Strategically Incoherent Decisions.

Silo Trap

The Context of Think artwork interpreted for Silo Trap

What is Silo Trap?

Silo Trap or “Siloization” is a practice of making decisions in a Silo, meaning making decisions that are best for your function without consideration of the impact on other functions. Another phase you hear often is “working in a silo”.  Siloization does not necessarily mean that the Functional Leaders are vengeful or deliberate; it simply means that, for whatever reason, it appears as if no consideration was given to the possible effect of that decision on the other functions of the business.

Siloization is detrimental to an organization because everything in the business is interconnected. Every decision made will ultimately produce output that feeds as input/information into the task of another function, affecting the effectiveness with which the other function can complete its task. An easy yet relatable example is the decisions made in Sales to win the Sales without considering how it will impact operations. This leaves operations exposed to delivering lower-quality goods and services, affecting the Operations’ Performance metrics.

So how is Siloization different from Strategic Misalignment?

Both Siloization and Strategic Misalignment are rooted in the decision-making process and the information used in decision-making; the difference is; with Siloization decisions fail to consider the impact of those decisions on other Functions, while; with Strategic Misalignment, the decision fails to consider the impact of those decisions on the Business’s Corporate Strategy. Similar yet drastically different.

Signs of Siloization?

Siloization is Horizontal conflict within the organization, while Strategic Misalignment is Vertical conflict among all levels of the organization. Siloization creates somewhat toxic or dysfunctional behaviours, while Strategic Misalignment doesn’t necessarily mean the functions are not aligned. Two Signs of Siloization include:

  • An increasing number of disagreements between the functions of the organization. The reasons including:
    • different priorities,
    • different strategies,
    • different goals,
    • the different interpretations of what the goals or the strategy mean.
  • We often listen to CEOs reciting some version of “we are all cogs in the wheel”, or when we work together, we can achieve great things. The pep-talk used to pacify disagreements between the functions when the effects have cascaded down the organization affecting staff, operations and likely, customers.

When you step back, really step back and look at what happened when Siloization was allowed to continue, the result is often tragic – the compounded effect led to the decline of the business.

“The compounded effect of Siloization is the Slow Decline of the Business.”

Implementation Misalignment

Capterra – interpreted Project Failing

What is Implementation Misalignment? 

Implementation Misalignment occurs when the business undertakes special projects it is not equipped to or cannot successfully execute. More appropriately described as the misfit between the Project requirements and the business resourcefulness. Implementation Misalignment occurs when the business pursues projects that look good on paper without doing proper due diligence into its capabilities, resources, skillset, and limitation.  Ultimately, having to accept that the business cannot successfully deliver the project and deciding to either stop or accept compromised results.

Despite each project being unique and one of a kind, inherent with uncertainty, risk and challenges, there are signs of Implementation Misalignment requiring solutions that are outside of the control of the Project Management team.

4 Signs of Implementation Misalignment:

  1. Lack of Management Buy-in: Management buy-in is present when the collective leadership team agrees with and supports the project. Management buy-in becomes a problem when one or more of the leadership team members do not agree with the decision to pursue this project. Thus, likely that there are unresolved issues even after the decision was made, resulting in a project lacking the full management buy-in.
  2. Unexpected Challenges: During implementation, the project experiences an unnecessarily high number of challenges resulting in scope creep, delays, rising cost etc. Challenges that weren’t previously anticipated, or challenges or issues the sponsor during strategic planning assumed were not going to be an issue; or did not give any thought to because they did not anticipate that this would be a challenge for the business.
  3. Underwhelming Results: Upon completion, the Project result was under-whelming, or the business did not gain the benefits it anticipated from the project.
  4. Failure: Project failed, or the business was forced to terminate the project early.

Solution: NMCS Strategic Initiative Process

Boost Strategic Planning and Strategy Execution while Developing the Essential Details to Optimally Manage the Business

NMCS Strategic Initiative Process is a structured, organized, gated processes designed to help businesses Identify, Develop, Execute and Operationalize the right initiatives to Transform the business for Growth, while simultaneously further the achievement of the Business Corporate Strategy, its Vision, Mission or Purpose. This Strategic Initiative Process:

  1. Using NMCS Strategic Alignment Process, analyses the Business Corporate Strategy to:
    • Define Core Goals,
    • Define Core Goals Success Principles that reduce Interpretation Errors,
    • Priorities alignment with and define the business Strategic Path,
    • Define Corporate Goals.
  2. Define Strategic Initiative
    • Performs a Business State Corporate Goal Gap Assessment to identify Strategic Gaps,
    • Analyzes the business resources, risk, capabilities and risk appetite to define Business Limitations,
    • Performing our Business Limitation Analysis; weigh, rate and prioritize the impact of the business limitation on each Strategic Gap, to identify Potential Strategic Initiatives the business is Equipped and Able to Successfully Execute.
  3. Pursue Transformation Initiatives to Grow the Business or Transformation Initiatives to Stabilize the Business, that are specific and right for the business, right now. The Strategic Initiative Process provided an Executive Strategic Initiative Report Framework to facilitate the optimal review to decide on which Strategic Initiative to pursue.
  4. Throughout the Structured, Organized, Gated-Process, develop the Essential Information and Details to Optimize the Management and Operations of the Business.
    • Information used when making Strategic Decisions
    • Information used in onboarding new leaders
    • Information used when managing the operations of the business
    • Information used when resolving conflict
    • etc.

NMCS Strategic Initiative Process delivers on its promise by Logically, honing in on the key point of weakness of a Strategic Planning Process, and getting to the root cause of where Expensive Strategic Mistakes are made. Addressing:

  • The reasons wrong projects is selected,
  • The reasons why certain investment fails,
  • The reasons behind an organization being pulled into different, conflicting directions,
  • The reasons strategic gaps develop within an organization,
  • The reasons for misalignment between the Operations of the Business and its Corporate Strategy,
  • The reasons why a business loses its competitive edge, and customers leave.

NMCS Strategic Initiative Process addresses the root cause behind Expensive, Strategic Mistakes. The reasons that are only obvious after the fact, after the damage has been done.

This solution not only provides a Strategic Tool to Optimize Strategic Planning and Strategy Execution, but it does so in a subtle, elegant manner without any negative stigmas; correcting the ineffective management practices discussed above.

It provides the Framework, Insights, Strategies, Tips and Information to create the environment that stifles the Strategic Misalignment, Siloization and Implementation Misalignment. 

Strategic Initiative Miniseries Summary.

Over the period of January to June of 2022, NMCS published a 6-Part Strategic Initiative miniseries on our Blog Page and our NMCS YouTube channel, with over 2 hours of information packed content; discussed in much more detail than can be presented in one post or blog. After completing this complex 6-part miniseries, we had one more gift for our readers.  A summarized overview of the full ended to end process in one publication. Now you can get an appreciation for the full process, with some insights into each step in the process and the benefits of its design,

Part 1: What is Strategic Initiative?

A Strategic initiative is a Corporate Level Special Project, carefully planned and designed by leadership, to resolve a Strategic Gap, clearing a path forward for the business to now be able to achieve one or more of its Corporate Goals. A Strategic Initiative differs from other projects undertaken within the business because it effect a transformational change to the business; making a fundamental change to the business. See Types of Strategic Initiatives for more detail.

It is important to clarify that the completion of a Strategic Initiative Project by itself does not achieve any of the Business Corporate Goals, it simply removes an obstacle, in the business so the business can now begin the work on the activities necessary to achieve its Corporate Goal.

The different types of Strategic Initiatives discussed in this series are

  1. The Create Strategic Initiative
    • To create something that currently do not exist within the business
    • Something that is necessary to have, and operational, before the business can execute the activities to achieve one or more of its Corporate Goals
    • Example: a Vertical or Horizontal integration, or a Strategic Partnership, which is needed before the business is able to execute the activities necessary to grow the business.
  2. The Fix or Repair Strategic Initiative
    • To Fix or Repair something currently existing with the business
    • Something which in its current state is an obstacle, prevents the business from executing the activities necessary to achieve one or more of its Corporate Goals
    • Example: to Upgrade the Business Production Facility to increase capacity to the facility true potential. In its current state, the facility is no able to produce the quantity required to achieve it corporate goal.
  3. The Discontinue Strategic Initiative
    • To Discontinue some aspect of the business that is no longer aligned with the Business Corporate Strategy.
    • Something which is consuming resources while widening Strategic Gaps within the business, pulling the business further and further away from its Corporate Strategy.
    • Something currently blocking the business from executing the activities necessary to achieve one or more of its Corporate Goals.
    • Example: to Discontinue a non-strategic product line that monopolizes production time. Preventing the business from optimizing the production of its more profitable products. Something if not discontinued prevents the business from expanding its more productive product lines.

NMCS Strategic Initiative Process

NMCS Strategic Initiative Process is a 7-Step Process, starting with the analysis of the business Corporate Strategy to determine the strategic path forward, and ending the Operationalization of the output from the Strategic Initiative Project, so the business can move forward, executing the operations of the business to achieve its Corporate Goals.

The Seven Steps of the NMCS Strategic Initiative Process:

  1. Clarify Corporate Strategy
    • Corporate Strategy -> Corporate Goals
  2. Identify Strategic Gaps
    • Corporate Goals <-> Business State => Strategic Gaps
  3. Design Strategic Initiative
    • Strategic Gaps X Business Limitations X Business Capabilities => Possible Strategic Initiatives
  4. Evaluate and Select Strategic Initiative
    • Executive Strategic Initiative Report X Decision => Select Strategic Initiative
  5. Plan and Mobilize Strategic Initiative
    • Planning Detail for funding, resources
    • Secure Funding and Resources
  6. Execute Strategic Initiative
    • Insights to Mindfully manage Execution of the project with the Project manager
  7. Operationalize Strategic Initiative
    • Go Live, Open Flood Gates of the transition onto the business.

Part 1 Full Video Link: What is Strategic Initiative? 

Starting in Part 2 to Part 7, we discussed each Step of the NMCS Strategic Initiative Process in detail.

Part 2: Clarify Corporate Strategy and Identify Strategic Gaps

A Summary of the key take away from Part 2: Clarify Corporate Strategy and Identify Strategic Gaps includes:

  • An Acknowledgement of the fact that not all businesses have a well defined Corporate Strategy, so we discussed insights on how the business can make progress with what they have. After all, you have to start at some point and the right point is where you are currently.
  • Discussed NMCS strategic Alignment process in detail, unpacking the business Corporate Strategy through a succinct process to define corporate goals as well as all other information management depend on to effectively manage the business.

  • Discussed our 5-step process to analyse the business current state compared to the ideal state necessary to achieve its Corporate Goals, and to identify Strategic Gaps.

Part 2 Full Video Link: Clarify Corporate Strategy and Identify Strategic Gaps 

Part 3: Design, Evaluate and Select Strategic Initiative

A summary of the key takeaway from Part 3: Design, Evaluate and Select Strategic Initiative includes:

  1. Part 3 discussion started off by raising awareness to the fact that as we transition from the “dreamlike”, excitement of the earlier Strategic Planning steps in the process, it can be difficult for some leaders when they are forced to face the reality of the business weakness.
    • It’s like the cliche “looking in the mirror” at your weakness, limitation; Looking Objectively!
    • Analyzing the impact of the identified weakness and limitation on the business and having to decide what, if anything, to do about it.
    • Some Resistance Triggers leadership encounters at this juncture in the process include:
      • The Reality of the sheer effort required to execute a Strategic Initiative Project, and whether they are willing to undertake that stress.
      • The Cost – Transformation Projects are Expensive – leaders must decide whether the business can incur such a cost, and they can accept the impact on the business and their compensation.
      • Management Buy-In. At this step, leaders once excited about a prospect begin pulling back their support, Questioning whether it’s beneficial or not after consideration of the business limitation and constraints.
      • Investment funding, the business question whether they will be able to secure the funding given the ROI for the business and potential investors of each Strategic Gap.
      • Risk Severity and how well this is married with the Leaders’ Risk appetite
      • Culture. Transformation is complex, requiring teamwork, sacrifice and discipline; something the leaders must consider when making expensive decisions to pursue disruptive projects.
  2. Discussed our Design Strategic Initiative Process, designed to diligently evaluate all Option presented to select the most financially and strategically feasible Initiative for the business to pursue
    • Step 1: Understand the Business Limitations.
    • Step 2: Evaluate and Categorize Limitations.
    • Step 3: Perform Business Limitation Strategic Gap Rating.
      • Apply other Core Goals to rule out Strategic gaps conflicting with other Business Core Goals, extracted directly from the business Corporate Strategy.
    • Step 4: Prepare Executive Strategic Initiative Report
  3. Entered into a discussion on the decision-making process and supporting the Decision Makers as they decide on which Initiative to pursue.

Part 3 Full Video Link: Design, Evaluate and Select Strategic Initiative 

Part 4: Plan & Mobilize Strategic Initiative

Part 3 was somewhat of a rude awakening, transition from the excitement of planning the perfect future to an objective assessment of the business to determine; of which of the many strategic gaps identified, the business is equipped and able to execute with some level of competence. Part 4 took a step further, as we transitioned the conversation from a Strategic focus to the Tactical level of the organization.

The Purpose of Part 4: Plan & Mobilize Strategic Initiative was two folded; first to develops the critical & essential Specific Strategic Initiative Project, Project Management details required; before the business takes any action to secure funding and secure resources for the project. Then we utilized the Project Management Information to engage investors, suppliers and potential Human Resources needed throughout the life of the project and after the project goes live.

The Key Insights discussed includes:

  1. We started the conversation with a brief statement on Expensive Strategic Mistake and surveying the leadership for their true opinion.
  2. A discussion of Planning Funding Insights one must be mindful of before seeking funding for the project.
    • One: Understand the type of investment you’re seeking funding for, because not all investor fund all types of investment.
    • Two: Be very specific on the Strategic Initiative Project Return on Investment and how it will create value for the business and investor.
    • Three: Understand you Investment funding Cost ceiling, beyond which it becomes too expensive for the business
    • Four: Determine how you will repay the investment cost during the life of the project, it is an additional cash burden on the business; the business may or may not be able to cover.
    • Five: If the option is presented, are the shareholders willing to give up equity to fund the project?
    • Note: Not so Fine Print – we’re not financial experts; as such we highly recommend that you seek the consult of certified financial advisors, however, be prepared to discuss each point in applicable detail with potential investors.
  3. A Discussion of Planning Project Management detail the business must prepare before performing any action on the project. Information we recommend you develop with the Project Manager who will be responsible for the successful delivery of the project.
    • One: Project Detail Description, including Deliverables, Success Principles and Success Factors
    • Two: Project Constraints
    • Three: Project Risk and Deal Breakers
    • Four: Project Milestones
    • Five: Project Schedule and Timeline
    • Six: Project Resource Schedule
    • Seven: Project Finance and Cash Flow Schedule
    • Eight: Project Communication Plan
    • Nine: Project Deployment Plan
  4. Mobilize Funding Insights – a discussion of different types of assurances; different types of investors will be seeking during the negotiation process to decide on whether or not to fund your project.
  5. Mobilize Non-People Resources – A Discussion of insights to be considered when sourcing and securing equipment, material, third party resources, etc. so the Resources are accessible and available when needed throughout the life of the project.
  6. Mobilize People Resources – Finally we discussed HR Insights, having the right people with the right skills onboard at the right time to execute the activities of the projects as per the project schedule. Also, to secure any additional permanent resources needed after the project goes live.

Part 4 Full Video Link: Plan and Mobilize Strategic Initiative 

Part 5: Execute Strategic Initiative

We are mindful of the fact that we cannot execute any project, nonetheless a complex Strategic Initiative Project on a thirty minutes video. Also, the fact that the business would have hired a Professional Project Manger to deliver this high stake project. The Purpose of this episode was to home in on the the critical project management areas the sponsor must manage mindfully with the project team to reduce failure and overruns; increase visibility, provide support on a timely manner, and to be able to advise along the way as challenges arises; and believe me, you will need to support the project team on a timely manner because challenges will arise, to increase the chances of success.

Based on experience, it is strongly recommended to:

  1. Get Commitment from the Project Execution Team on the Project Description detail prepared in Part 4 before execution starts. Simply because commitment creates accountability, accountability improves execution and improved execution improves the chances of success.
  2. Get Clarity on Project Deliverables because assumptions, because assumption made during execution introduces interpretation errors, and a lack of clarity is one of the sources that causes project breakdown.
  3. Manage Risk & Deal Breakers. This goes without saying, there are different levels and severity of risk plaguing the project; with deal breakers being the most critical; requiring intentional and purposeful management. After all the last thing any sponsor wants is to terminate a project early, writing off a material investment cost to the business. 
  4. Manage Project Cash Flow. Project Cash flow is an underrated monster which if not contained and managed, can easily bleed cash, affecting the business. After all Profit (a net of cost and expenditure) don’t pay the bill, cash (the available money in the bank) does.
  5. Manage Progress. You may be thinking Progress is all the Project Manager team does. Yes, but! There are different levels of progress and different criticality of progress. Here the purpose is to encourage the sponsor to mindfully manage the critical path and critical path adjacent activities, as well as to encourage the project manager to proactively manage all other Project activities. After all it’s wise to not assume that progress is made just because it’s on the project plan.
  6. Manage Communication; Communication Channels are Open & functional. Part 5 emphasize that communication channels are open and functional when things are going as planned, however, communication clogs begin forming when failure or blame or accountability enters the equation. We shared insights on how to encourage open communication channels in all circumstances within a project.  

Part 5 Full Video Link: Execute Strategic Initiative 

Part 6: Operationalize Strategic Initiative

Operationalization Strategic Initiative is the process, where the products created with the Strategic Initiative Projects are handed over or transitioned from the Project Management team to the Operations of the Business.

We emphasized that how the business transition of the products created from a Strategic Initiative project to the Operations of the business, is critical because:

  • Go Live is a critical point of weakness in the Project, especially a Strategic Initiative because it effect a fundamental change to the business. A change that affects the way the business operates, the way staff do their jobs, the way customer responds to the change etc.
  • If done properly there is a higher adoption rate and an eagerness to utilize the products created to achieve the business goals.
  • If not done properly, the business is plagued with frustration and challenges. Depending on how badly the transition was, it can result in key staff members leaving the organization, an increase in customers attrition and worst a decline in the business as opposed to the growth you expected.

To help counteract the negatives of a poorly executed transition, we provided Transition Insights for the three types of Strategic Initiative discussed above (Create, Fix or Repair & Discontinue). Because each type of Strategic Initiative affect the business differently. In some transition insight the transition category would be the same, however the transition detail differs significantly and materially. For example with a Create Strategic Initiative, the Operating Model is an expansive change, requiring new resources, consolidation, in some functions a splitting of duties etc. While a Discontinue Strategic Initiative effective a contractive change to the business, shrinking workforce, remaining workforce performing double duties, taking on the responsibilities of their once terminated peer, etc.

It is important to note that the Operationalization of a Strategic Initiative’s impact on the business is often underrated, leaving room for Preventable Errors. Here we discussed what it truly means when a project goes live – the flood gates are opened and everyone and everything affected – Operating Procedure, How People do their Jobs, People’s Jobs, Customers, Suppliers, Business Partners, everyone and everything – hence the reason for the meticulous execution of the Operationalization of the Strategic Initiative.

Part 6 Full Video Link: Operationalize Strategic Initiative 

Notes: Execution of Strategic Initiative Process

Now before we end, some final thoughts on this Strategic Initiative Process, which is also discussed in the Part 6 video.

This miniseries was intended to provide insights, and is not intended for training. It is too summarized, even the individual videos, are too summarized to be considered as training material. The intention was for this series to help you highlight gaps in your process, understand why it is important to fill that gap, then to provide insights on how you can fill that gap with your knowledge and experience. It’s a management guide only.

Also, it is worth re-emphasizing that this series because of the way it was designed, not only provides a Strategic Tool to boost your Strategic Planning and Strategy Execution but also through the process eradicate personal biases while developing in a collaborative manner the information and details relied upon when managing the business, promoting strategically alignment in all actions.

Assumption made in the development of this Strategic Initiative series

  • The businesses are interested in growth and transformation.
  • The businesses are interested in Strategic Planning and effective Strategy Execution, and is willing to do the work.
  • The businesses interested are organizations with a hierarchy of resources, resources to undertake a Strategic Caliber Project.
  • The businesses interested was or is Operationally profitable for several years, meaning a well established business.
  • The businesses interested have a version of Corporate Strategy that they can use as a starting point for Strategic Planning.
  • The businesses interested are not experiencing industry disruption, as we did not cater for market disruption in this series. Simply because Market disruption required a complete rethink of the business existence, and if it continues, a refresh of the business Corporate Strategy. A refresh of the business Corporate Strategy is a completely different task.
  • Strategic Planning and Strategy Execution is the next natural step for the business. Whether that’s founded in transformation for growth or transformation to get back on track.

Assumption we assumed businesses interested in this series would make

  • The business is in growth and or improvement mode.
  • The business has the potential to get the investment funding required to fund selected Strategic Initiative Projects.
  • The business has the executive support to see a project through, work through obstacles collaboratively and do everything in their power to succeed.
  • The business has the resources and potential to acquire skills needed to undertake a Strategic Initiative project.
  • The business is clear about its Corporate Strategy and has executive buy-in on the business Strategic Path 

10 Benefit of the Strategic Initiative Process 

This series was a well thought-out series, with consideration for where the business struggles, the root cause and to value the business most valuable resources – it people. Designing Processes & Strategies while sharing our Insights to add context and Tips so you can gain the most from this series; with intentional effort to respect your business, its staff and your passion to make real change, correcting the right problem; preparing the business for sustainable growth. We made lots of understood assumptions throughout this series, simply because we attempt to provide insights without inflating an already complex and lengthy topic. This is just one of the consequences of creating compact video content; fit for today’s audiance.

10 benefit of executing this Strategic Initiative Process as intended are:

  1. Clarify the Business Corporate Strategy, bring everyone onboard with not just your business Vision, Mission or Purpose Statements, but your interpretation and expectation of what you are working toward and how. 
  2. The process was designed to develop the details and information required to eradicate Communication & Interpretation Errors, errors resulting from assuming that everyone else is thinking like you are, using the same rationale.
  3. It develops the details required to improve decisions alignment with the business Corporate Strategy, reducing confusion and obscurity.
  4. It develops a Strategy Map with consensus, clearly laying out the path forward for the business in the short and medium terms at minimum.
  5. It improves and / or formalizes the Project Management function within the business.
  6. It unveils limitation and constraints within the business the business may not have been aware of, with consensus on what the business is willing and able to address.
  7. It improves communication within the business, facilitating appropriate transparency and feedback.
  8. It develops the information, and discipline to better equips the business to collaboratively tackle challenges.
  9. It improves culture and teamwork.
  10. It provides the insights to execute changes more effectively within the business while promoting the Proactive and Collaborative Management of the Business, the activities to achieve the business goals.
2 Final notes from me to you:
  1. “Knowledge is power” is the old say. The assumption was that we use the knowledge we acquired consistently to improve our lives and businesses. I cannot tell you how many businesses I have worked in, in which the leaders knew exactly what they were supposed to do and why, yet for whatever reason struggled to apply it to the business. The strategy to break this cycle was as simple as transforming that knowledge into executable actions, small manageable actions they can execute within their busy schedule.  
  2. Assuming we know exactly what the other person meant, or is intended to do. There are numerous text, articles and seminars on open-mindedness. Yet I have experienced in too numerous to count, instances in businesses; in which people listen only to respond, listen for an opportunity to talk, tell others what to do without listening or seeking others input, disregard other people ideas, etc.; the list goes on. A strategy to interrupt this practice eventually is the Strategic Alignment Process discussed above. One example of how this process opens the floor for input is in the step to define Success Principles. This steps only works well when you welcome different interpretation from different thinking process, meaning different members of the team. It stifles ego and improves respect; fostering collaboration and teamwork, if executed as intended.

Use the tool as intended and without a doubt, you will see improvement in the business.

Be Strategic!


How to do More with Less, with the Resources you have!

A common misconception is that in order to do more, you need more resources. Not True!

In this video we discussed 2 Low Involvement, Minimally Disrupted strategies on how to do more, execute strategically aligned tasks, without acquiring new resources.


  1. Identify Strategically coherent goals your team buys into.
  2. Build Employee Engagement the right way.

Note of Caution: Don’t despair if you encounter resistance when effecting change. This is normal, so persevere, and your team will adopt the changes. 


Operationally, Measure what Matters

Business Operation is the epicentre of an organization.

The successes or failings of an organization, its growth or shrinkage will dependent on how the organization approaches and manage the operations of the business.

How well you deliver on your Operations Mandate to deliver the goods and services of the business and do your part to contribute towards the growth & transformation will depend on how you manage each of the three achievement areas:

  • The Operations Achievement – operations activities to deliver the goods and services of the business
  • The Competitive Achievements – operations activities that are necessary to compete effectively in the marketplace
  • And the Growth Achievements – operations activities that are necessary to grow and expand the business as planned

This video discussed a 2-step strategic approach to help effectively achieve your operations mandate. 

Efficiency vs Effectiveness

A common Management Fallacy is in believing that “an efficient business is an effective business”.

An Efficient Business is not always an Effective Business. 

This video discusses:

  1. Efficiency Benefits, limitations and when Efficiency alone can be detrimental for your business
  2. Effectiveness and the subtle difference between an Effective Business vs an Efficient business
  3. Efficiency Strategy drawbacks
  4. and Differentiates an Effective Business from just an Efficient business