March 15, 2015 / AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
March 15, 2015
It seems that we are constantly being bombarded by industry expert prognostications regarding the latest innovations like mobile applications, wearable tech, and data storage. Billions of dollars, time, and R&D are being invested into the IT ecosystem and positive bottom line results are the rule and not the exception. An effective strategy should not only leverage widely accepted methodologies, but might also consider new ideas and concepts to achieve the greatest impact. Regarding the latter, ideas and concepts may be taken from areas not normally associated in defined verticals (Banking & Finance, Pharmaceutical, Information Technology, etc.) to open new paths that could lead to improved coordination across many areas involved in the delivery process.
Some projects are best completed solo, while others succeed by aligning partnerships
From a strategic standpoint (corporate or otherwise), leaders and project managers should ask themselves if a specific project or effort could benefit by engaging with folks/companies with similar goals and interests, or if it’s best to go solo. Organizations should first evaluate the project and decide if other partners are needed. The more elements, the more complexity, and more variables (e.g., part shortages, production disruptions, etc.) to consider. Conversely, enlisting trusted partners could increase bandwidth to better deal with highly complicated efforts such an inversion project, which requires careful coordination from the Program Office to the developers at ground level.
As a result, organizations must carefully evaluate if partners are needed, and how many should be added into the mix to achieve maximum efficiency. Take, for example, the building of a server from a hardware perspective. Company A wants to create a commodity-type x86 offering and can fully create the product in-house (except for the processor), while being competitive. Company B, on the other hand, wants to assemble the same type of offering, but does not manufacture any of the internal components and must rely entirely on partners to supply the needed hardware (e.g., processors, hard drives, memory, etc.), which allows for market forces to dictate both price and availability. This path leaves Company B open to a number of additional uncertainties like if a supplier goes into bankruptcy or decides not to provide the number or quality level of units originally agreed upon. Accordingly, Company B would be advised to have a well thought-out Contingency Plan in place if the uncertainty scenarios materialize.
As logic would dictate, the more partners, the greater reliance of a carefully crafted plan that takes into consideration certain key variables such as the swapping of main partners without disrupting the overall project or effort.
Orchestrate your strategy
Creating a solid business and coherent strategy is much like building a symphony orchestration. The organization of the various pieces takes place, which in essence is the coming together or synchronization of a group to achieve the desired goal or objective. It is imperative that business leaders be open-minded and not only leverage well known and proven methodologies, but also ideas and concepts outside the box.
An excellent example of leveraging of old and new is Eroica (Symphony #3) by Beethoven. He wanted to break away from his predecessor, Mozart, and works like Symphony 41. Unfortunately Beethoven’s 1st and 2nd Symphonies seemed far too similar in overall tone to be considered revolutionary. In retrospect Beethoven decided to break new ground in 1804 and 1805 with his masterpiece, the 3rd. He tried to leverage most of the structural points of prior works, but added a kaleidoscope of shadings to create something truly revolutionary in the Second Movement. The effects are both profound and captivating in its delivery and ability to hit the inner core of people’s emotions. The idea was to not only create a groundbreaking piece, but a new form of music, while putting the framework in place to achieve his goal—hundreds of components (e.g., sheet music, players, instruments, etc.) with precise timing.
It is here where a connection to orchestrating can be made. A carefully crafted strategic plan should be put into place, as well as the implementation of the supporting plans (performance & contingency) to help achieve the desired result or objective. The ability to create an offering that is both widely accepted and profitable requires not only an “ear to the ground”, but also technical prowess combined with sensitivity to various players including end-users, employees, and external partners. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) should be included in the Performance Plan along with “what if scenarios” that visualize possible future trends or events in a well-defined Contingency Plan. Fast forward to the ontological world where KPI’s lead the future allowing for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to come into play so that thousands, or even millions, of “what if scenarios” can be evaluated and the best ones chosen to better foretell the future.
Mozart taught us to know our audience. Case in point, Mozart broke with traditional operas in Italian and decided that German would more appealing to his Viennese audience. Hence, since we are in a global economy, people and organizations must not only take domestic factors in to consideration, but a World View as well.
From a pragmatic point of view, we must first see if we should strategizing on our own or are we to include others components (e.g., partners, peers, employees, etc.) into the equation. Accordingly, once the agreed upon path is chosen then the pieces must be assembled to reach the desired goals and objectives. Patience is a virtue is a term that is often used, but in our fast paced world time is of the essence may be more applicable. Doing what you can do now to leverage new ideas and concepts within a strategic framework could be the action theme going forward.
Consider these six Uncommon Sense questions to ask yourself as you Orchestrate Your Business Strategy.