Business leaders worldwide know the frustration of having painstakingly developed a strategy for their business only to have it consigned to a filing cabinet somewhere on the cloud, because it falls at the final hurdle – implementation.
Strategy implementation fails for a variety of reasons. Errors can include: thinking that setting goals and prioritising initiatives is a strategy, addressing symptoms without addressing root cause issues, wasting millions on using big ‘consulting’ firms, and the biggest pitfall of all – not mobilising your people (from the coalface to the boardroom) in the development of the strategy from the get-go.
“Mobilisation of a strategic population within an organisation is the critical success factor that ensures strategy implementation is effective. If you don’t engage your people emotionally and intellectually and galvanise them to act, your strategy is just words on a page, destined for costly failure.” Mike Harley, the co-author of ‘Strategisation – The Art of Mobilising People to Implement a Winning Strategy’, says.
Mike is a seasoned marketer and business leader – with 35 years of international corporate and consulting experience. In ‘Strategisation’, he has developed a framework and a step-by-step guide to achieving successful implementation by mobilising the people in your organisation. He describes mobilisation as ‘The Glue’ that holds the framework together, “Mobilisation is what turns the wheels, it is what provides the momentum, the movement the action”, he says.
Richard Goodrich, Managing Director – Aprais Pty Ltd, says, ‘Strategisation is a seriously impressive guide both intellectually and practically. The advice, context, and recommendations are truths that experienced business and marketing professionals would do well to refresh themselves with. Equally, as much as the next generation will learn if they are smart enough read it.’
Strategisation (ISBN 978-1-922553-66-9) is available NOW at www.strategisation.com.au$34.95 RRP. Free shipping within Australia. Bicycles4Humanity – Melbourne will receive a $5 donation from each website sale. Also available at Amazon and Booktopia in hard copy and eBook formats. Free Book Launch Webinar at 5 pm AEDT on Monday, December 6th, 2021.
2020, the year everything we thought was going to happen just sped up. As I was dithering around getting ready to write this piece I was reading the World Economic Forum’ “spotlight on precision medicine” update, which basically is yet another reminder that an awful lot of the result of the COVID saga has been a speeding up of automated and digitally based health advisory and analysis tool use. Circumstance breeds opportunity and for the digital consumer space, this is a year we had expected to see a jump in the way people, business, media and government exchanged data and used new applications. It has just taken off in ways we had not predicted.
The trend business is a flawed one, of course. People predict what will happen and if they are lucky get it close to right, and if not can blame “unexpected circumstance” for deviations.
The new normal is less a ‘massive change’ but rather many things we have been “predicting” for a decade or more becoming reality. Social distancing means we turn to screens more for virtual companionship. Health concern means we use more self-monitoring. We can’t go out so we bring the “out” in with more e-commerce.
“ The come to me economy” we have seen grow in the last decade with greater pizza delivery and the expansion of Amazon explodes as more and more people buy in to getting more and more things delivered and then pay for it with increasing use of contactless payments. It’s not that this is new, but what is different is that for a couple of billion people around the world, whatever your level of digital integration in your daily life has stepped up a couple of levels. Those that were already heavy digital shoppers, have in the last few months, had that lifestyle substantiated as normal. For the novice, it is now more normal. For many first timers, the experience will be hard to shake. The merging of offline/online shopping gets more blurred and more about the screen as the “first option”. We talk about looking forward to going “back to the shops” but for massively increased numbers that will be more window shopping and a chance to socialize in person, while buying will be via the screen of choice.
And when we do buy, it is now increasingly contactless digital payments. The credit/debit/bank/loyalty card business has been pushing the idea of “faster, easier, freer payment systems” for over two decades. The idea of digital payments via your phone, tap and go, paypal etc are all old ideas that have been pushed up through the gears this year to whole new levels of acceptance.
As we go, the use of digital tracking has now become more widely accepted. Sure, it is hotly debated in some countries, more than others, but for ideas of public health, personal security, disease control or just “I don’t have a choice if I want to get that train, go into that store, eat at this restaurant” tapping a QR code on entry, or knowing the GPS tracker on your phone is allowed to follow you everywhere has been accepted in ways we might have thought were a decade away way back in 2019.
Of course, all this digital sharing has also brought us together in ways we could not have imagined. On Facebook, and other platforms, sharing “my bedroom window view” and other memes open up lives in a sense of “let’s get through this together”. The massive revival of “balcony culture” is a great example of the way digital connectivity has crossed over and returned us to a deeper appreciation of our physical neighbours. All those millions of posts of appreciating the ‘would be opera singer’ on the balcony next door, the guy running a marathon on the balcony in France, sharing the ‘block clapping’ for health workers or joining in a heartfelt singalong, takes us back decades to when sitting on the balcony or front stoop in the evening and swapping gossip was normal … but as with all things digital, now we do it all bigger and without geography bounds.
Working from Home (WFH)
If there is one area that has sped up more than any other it is maybe WFH. Over a century ago, Jules Verne and others assumed we would now be working from home, maybe doing 3-4 hours of work a day, all through some integrated, mechanical knowledge system. In 2019 any decent “futurist” knew it was coming but used the “in five years or so” gap to allow things to change. Come COVID and suddenly 2 billion white collar workers are thrown into a massive experiment and, wow !!
Zoom becomes the biggest rival to the grounded airlines of the world. The conference and meeting market is shattered as we figure out in only a few months how to make “webinars” normal ( and maybe too many of them), virtual conferences can be interesting, fun and functional, regular work can be done from anywhere. Yes, many offices will return to “brick and mortar” locations but an awful lot of managers will be looking at things like leasing costs and considering a permanent change in how to manage their staff. Not new ideas but again massively sped up by circumstance.
For the worker, of course, the digital working environment has its ups and downs. Five months ago, as WFH became a necessity the “upside” of more time to fill and less time in commutes was a hot topic. Then the need to do things at home, where we had normally out-sourced like eating in cafes and working out in gyms were quickly filled in with … more digital life. Home schooling fills in a lot of time with duties many parents would rather have avoided but quickly we found that systems adapted to that new normal as well. Meanwhile, a raft of new social, digital heroes helped us get through life with daily doses of help and advice ( thanks Joe Wick).
We may not like all these changes, and I am sure like me many niggle about some of it. BUT in reality it is now reality.
Health and Wellness Apps
A few years ago we saw the surge in step counters ( the myth of the 10,000 steps a day for good health ) and maybe more sophisticated wristbands and other wearables. For many, though, a fashion that was quickly forgotten. In 2020, measurement goes in to overdrive. Again, at whatever level you might have started from. The non-exerciser takes up a daily routine in the bedroom with a downloaded session from YouTube. The casual runner figures out a way to use an app to make sure they are at least getting a set number of “heartbeat minutes” in every day. The heavy user of health apps ups their anti. The idea of constant self-checking is now possible in ways we were “ifing and butting” about last year.
E-medicine services have now become a necessity. Well maybe not quite but for many. In the UK, you can’t visit a GP without jumping online, you have to use a zoom like connection to get your 15 minutes of advice. In Bangladesh, where there are just not enough doctors anyway, digital checkup services are taking off. At the high end, you can download blood pressure apps and balance testers. The number of apps that measure the nutritional value of everything you consume by photos is exploding. Companies like Nestle, that were exploring these apps to supply supplements to the aged and other outlier consumer markets now look at these as tools for the mass.
And then there is what is to come.
In most trend predictor presentations of 2019, the three BIG things that were going to impact the world in 2020 was the environment, the Olympics and 5G. The environment/sustainability debate and the need to reconsider simple things like water usage in a world of water shortage may have been on the backburner the last six months but won’t go away. And as people use their screens to shop, vet, consider and buy more, expect more and more emphasis around brands and services and health and wellness, all being integrated with messages about sustainability. Brands having to have “water tracking” apps allow people to understand the impact of what they buy on personal and collective health, and this will be just a starting point.
All things health has been heightened by COVID, all access to information about health have been raised and if the digital age has taught us one thing, it is that we don’t cut down on data and information, we just keep accessing more. So, the business winners will be those who make information easier to sort out, easier to make use of and easier to be put in context.
And that brings us to 5G. 2020 was supposed to be “the year of 5G” when we would see a huge leap in the applications we could get on our mobile devices. The year AR or VR or something like that would finally break its limitations and become normal services on our smartphones. A lot of that was going to be entertainment. The Olympics was going to be the big sporting event of the year but in reality, the winner has been e-sports. All those hours sitting on couches has meant e-sports have exploded again. And that will only explode again with 5G. But imagine what the possibilities for health and wellness will also be as we access more 5G services … holistic representation and presentation of any health issue, 3D gamification of exercise, wellness treatments, impacts of activities on body parts, doctor investigation and interpretation of complaints.
2020 the year of digital “speeding up” of use and acceptance. Expect whatever you thought to be a ‘maybe in five years’ be a reality this year … then stretch your imagination again.
The challenge for many businesses in the food industry, particularly Small & Medium Enterprises (SME), is that traditional methods of taking new products and services to market are too slow, expensive and high risk, with consumer or customer needs not adequately embedded in the final solution. Additionally, many SME’s lack the resources or time for on-site Research & Development, Market Research or training available to larger companies.
This problem is exacerbated by the consolidated nature of the grocery market in Australia which makes it more difficult to reach shoppers without significant initial investment.
On recognising that there was an opportunity to provide a solution to address this need, we designed a course with input from Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL), specifically for SME’s in the Food and Agribusiness sector, who needed to improve their ability to create and commercialise innovative solutions to problems or opportunities they had identified in the market.
‘Fast ‘n Furious Innovation’ is a unique, 4 stage, highly interactive short course, which combines business coaching and a full day workshop that is designed to identify a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for a specific opportunity and rapidly get it to market. It also builds capabilities that can be embedded into the business to sustain future innovation success.
The Principals of the Short Course are:
Identify the role of innovation in delivering the business
Drives URGENCY and COMMITMENT
Benchmark current capabilities best in class
Identifies priority CAPABILITY gaps in business to address
Clearly articulate a specific innovation challenge
ACTION outcomes improve learning and FAST TRACK business benefits
Utilise a Fast n Furious Innovation framework
CONSISTENT but FLEXIBLE to improve productivity & likelihood of success
Consumer/ Customer at the heart of everything we do!
INCREASED likelihood of solving the Consumer/ Customer problem
Built around Design Led Innovation & Lean Canvas principals derived from the software and technology sector and based on over 50 years of combined consumer packaged goods experience, adapted to the specific needs of the food industry.
STAGE 2 | BRIEFING SESSION
During a one-hour call or webinar with each participating company the XPotential™ program leader introduces the program fundamentals, reviews and identifies priority opportunities from the capability survey, and uses the XPotential Business Challenge tool (click here to website tool) to identify a specific ’live’ innovation challenge– that the project the team works on during the the programme to accelerate commercialisation.
STAGE 3 | ONE DAY WORKSHOP
The XPotential™ program leader follows the Lean Canvas principals to identity Minimum Viable Product (MVP) launch opportunities within the workshop. It covers the following key elements
Target Customer/ Consumer – The Early Adopter
Identification of the core Consumer Problem
Developing the deep Consumer Insight
Springboard to the Value Proposition & ‘Minimum Viable Product’
Key Commercialisation Steps
During the workshop participants keep track of progress through our on-line platform that provides a digital report on completion to help fast-track the plan
STAGE 4 | FOLLOW UP MENTORING SESSION
The post workshop mentoring call or webinar held 6 – 8 weeks after the workshop is key as it irons out any further challenges, keeps the process on track and provides further advice as required.
FAST N FURIOUS ALUMNI
Between June 2016 and August 2017, XPotential™ conducted 9 Fast n Furious Innovation short courses across 5 states in Australia – 118 individuals from 59 companies. A Net Promotor Score of 39 showed significant support for the program with weighted averages on all key statements all sitting between AGREE and STRONGLY AGREE.
Post – workshop over 85% of respondents felt they would be able to deliver their ‘Minimum Viable Product’ to market within 6 months of finishing the course.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
The Ideal Company and Individual Participants
A business who seeks to rapidly commercialise a food or agribusiness innovation opportunity, ideally with 2 – 4 people from different functions. Cross-functional involvement and alignment is a proven success factor for rapid innovation and feedback. Indications from course participants show it delivers the best results.
Trends in wellness, regulatory affairs, government spending and technology are shouting out a bright future for Consumer Health, yet the slow rate of growth is frustrating.
We all talk about the potential opportunities for innovation. We act by merging and acquiring, by switching and launching, yet we continue to languish at a paltry 4.3 %.
We are stuck in so many paradigms that we constrain ourselves at every opportunity.
Clearly we want to grow but we don’t know how! We ask our people for outstanding ideas and deep emotional insights and then we try to kill these almost as soon as we have them. We ask our people to get closer to the market, to consumers and to customers but then we chain them to their desks and make them fill out spreadsheets or force them into taking part in useless meetings.
We hire in the best of talents and then within months manage to beat out their passion and disengage most of them. A study by Gallup across the leading organisations in the world showed that only 20% of employees are really engaged, 60% don’t care and 20% are actively disengaged. That is a significant failing of leadership and as senior managers we have to hold ourselves responsible.
So, if we cannot change the Consumer Health industry from the top down, then I propose that we must try to inspire change from the inside out. Giving individuals and teams the skills, the knowledge, the motivation and so the behaviors, that will bring industry wide change from within.
Change from within is the only answer for sustainable growth. It’s only when we have organisations of individuals that are developed, inspired and adequately rewarded – and that’s not just about money – that we will have growth not just today but into the future. Inspired individuals will break boundaries, redefine paradigms and create unparalleled opportunities.
Don’t look for inspiration for growth outside of your organisations; the best opportunities are inside, if only we create the right environment to let them grow.