Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Assessing, Positioning and Deciding (3)

During our research, we learned that many competitors (of all sorts), were always alerted on who were their viable competitors. What we discovered was that they rarely understood what the viable competitors really knew.

Regardless of the marketplace (or any competing arena), most competitors do not know much about their competitor. They relied their judgment on minimal facts, while focusing their attention on opinions and gossips. It usually creates a quantity of quality "fog" during their decision making process.

Intelligence is the lifeblood of a competitive company. Assessing it properly is the black art of the successful strategist.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Assessing, Positioning and Deciding (2)


In business, there are many possible destinations. How do you decide what is the best destination?

Do you know the overt problems and the concealed obstacles that lie between you and your destination?

Do you know what are the required logistics for reaching your destination?

Do you know what are the economic costs to implement the logistics?

Do you know what is the actual time line for reaching your destination?

Is it close to your projected time line?

Do you know the Big Tangible Picture of your compass?

In summary, knowing when to assess the Big Tangible Picture is one of the many keys to reaching one's destination.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Preparation Precedes Performance (2)

We previously posted an item on a SF Giants backup catcher who spent most of his time, preparing and waiting for his chance to play.

"I try to act like I'm a starter because I don't want to be put in a situation where I'm not prepared. ... That's the last thing I want to do." - Eli Whiteside, S.F Giants backup catcher

" ... With the throw coming from left field, Whiteside could see the entire picture. The throw was so quick getting home, and the hop so high, Whiteside also could remain upright and prepare for Fielder. Whiteside was right on the plate, too, so Fielder had no option but to slam into the catcher, which he did with a fierce shove. Whiteside then showed a side not seen before, in public, anyway. With his bare hand holding his glove shut, he slammed his hands into Fielder's chest.

After the "out" call, Whiteside tossed the ball past Fielder toward the mound dismissively, with attitude. Fielder walked away wearing a sly smile.

"If he's coming at you, you can come at him a little," Whiteside said. "There's no rule in the book that says you can't take it to him."

If Crawford's slam allowed the Giants to exhale, Whiteside's tag let them exult. Or in Aubrey Huff's words, 'That fired us up.' ..."


Classic Strategy Rule: Proper planning and preparation prevents pissed, poor performance.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Compass Rules

We have always operated on the following set of rules. It is quite intuitive.

Read, review and comment.

The Compass Rules (abridged listing)
  • Assess the tangibility of the big picture before deciding.
  • Position by transforming your assessed data into a plan that enables you to strategically influence the terrain around the target.
  • Influence by maximizing your strategic position consistently.
  • Assess the tangibility of the big picture whenever your settings have changed.
  • Assessing and Positioning is about reading and leading.
  • Read and Lead (Read the Big Picture and Lead with your plan).
  • Assessing, Positioning and Influencing is a process not a by-product.
  • Build your own Tangible Vision.
  • Connect with your Tangible Vision.
  • Lead with your Tangible Vision.
  • Follow the PACE of your Tangible Vision.
  • Connect the dots properly and promptly means reaping the rewards.
  • Executing the process properly and promptly, starts the momentum.
  • Executing the process effectively is what prevails at the end.
Organizing these guidelines as a process is a different story. We generalized it enough where it can be used for any competitive venture. Techie tools and toys evolve while the relevant process stays the same.

We will cover the specifics for these Compass rules at a later post.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Sign of the Times: The Automated Trend Continues

Past posts focused on the trend of robotic-driven services. We were informed that McDonalds is presently testing their automated service in Europe. (Thank you, Mr. Red Wings for updating us .)

Concurrently the writing end of the news businesses is slowly being automated.

Ruminations from the Compass Desk
Generating profits while maintaining the near cost-free efficiency is the key to succeeding in the information economy. The benefit of this approach is obvious.

Valued customer convenience means a greater rate of operational efficiency and minimum customer service. Full customer service will be only available to the economically affluent. It is the sign of the times

In the United States, minimum manufacturing and near-total automation have become the norm. The emphasis is on social networking and entertainment on demand.

Can you predict the after-effects of this continuous trend of economic dichotomy?

For those who don't know the after-effects of this trend, they should occasionally ask the following two questions:
  • Is their performance valued a minimum of five times greater than the cost of employing them?
  • Can their position be replaced by either an automated machine or someone who possesses the same skill with less economic costs?.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Applying the Strategic Principles to the Real World

Someone sent us this news item and asked us to offer a strategic view on how we would apply a Chinese strategic view to a local political situation. ... As we tell most people, it all begins by assessing their needs, their wants and the state of Big Tangible Picture.

Here is a partial listing of our response:
"In an information society, successful strategists contested their social-political will at the meeting rooms or the hallways of various political settings. Alliances, deals and feuds are sometime created at the water coolers, the back room of an eatery, a coffee shop or the 19th hole of a golf course. ...

The concealed possession of various political and economic influences usually gives the bearer (s) the leverage to make deals behind the closed doors of those mentioned settings that most outsiders do not know about.

... Implementing assorted social influences as a macro political influence could work But it usually requires patience, control, intelligence, economics, logistics, etc. ... When one does not have the prevailing strategic power, one must have the mindfulness, the willingness and the persistence to play "the grinding, the grounding and the pounding game" with the secondary understanding of securing the option of neutralization.

Following is an abridged list of our strategic awareness points:
  • Understand that the quality of trust and cooperation is proportional to the quality of informational transparency;
  • Remember that the full informational transparency is an illusion of the idealistic naive;
  • Anticipate that there is always a possibility of political deception being displayed to the public;
  • Remember that the quality of collected intelligence is proportional to the quality of strategic assessment (It is why the Art of War starts with chapter 1 and ends with chapter 13.)
Once the scope of the terrain is understood, the successful strategists typically proceed forward by "weighing and balancing" the relevant strategic and tactical attributes of their situation. In future posts, we will discussed this unique skill of successful strategists.

Ruminations from the Compass Desk

Assessing the Big Tangible Picture and understanding the various strategic principles usually enables one to be strategically effective in a world of zero-sum gains and partially valued win-win situations. ...

Knowing the rules of the game, the exceptions, the history and the operational specifics behind it is the first step. Organizing it into a strategic overview process and implementing it with strategic effectiveness are the next steps. ... It all begins by having a strategic process to operate from. By properly assessing their Big Tangible Picture, he or she can position and influence.

Comprehending the Big Tangible Picture has frequently enabled the successful strategists to connect the dots and reap the rewards.

Do you know your Big Tangible Picture? What is your process for positioning your team to influencing?

Is this a lot of work?

Compass Rule: The height of one's challenge usually determines the risk and some times the rewards.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Applying Strategic Power in the Information Economy (2)

Successful strategists prevailed in their endeavor by knowing the fundamentals, the terrain and the way of their competition.

From an operational view, the successful strategists know the measures and the constraints of the terrain and the intent of the competitors within it. They exploited the various intelligence, regarding to the economics, the logistics and various other strategic factors for the purpose of establishing the strategic power.

Having strategic power means that one has the Big Tangible Picture regarding to the terrain and the targeted competitor. It also enables one to discreetly evaluate the state of the opposition. In some cases, the strategists can become unorthodox and misdirected their opposition into wasting their resources and their credibility.

In summary, the targets usually do not understand that they have been deceived until the act is completed.

You can find more on these points on building strategic power when reading the Seven Military Classics of Ancient China.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Applying Strategic Power in the Information Economy (1)

In the information economy, the successful strategists judiciously assessed their competitive terrain until they are positioned themselves into an "one shot knockout" circumstance. .... In the case of Osama bin Laden, the outcome was two shots to the head. ...

This proper implementation of strategic power can be described as an integration of surprise, momentum and timing.

With the Big Tangible Picture in mind, the successful strategists connect the dots, reap the rewards and wait for the political and social after effects.

As of 05-03-11, the latest political after effects can be read here . The winners get it all. The political opposition just retreated to the office, "stewed" on the situation and waited for the next big event.

The amateurs occasionally read the situation with a grain of salt while leading with no mindfulness of the after-effects of their actions,.

The professionals spent their time assessing the target, positioning themselves toward an advantageous disposition and influencing their target with the awareness of the risk, the uncertainty and the volatility. Their understanding of the Big Tangible Picture enables them to decide accordingly to the situation.

Strategic power is achievable for those who have an abundance of intelligence, economics, logistics and the sheer drive to prevail.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thriving in the App Economy

From Friday's SFGate.com,

"... Gartner Research projections that the worldwide "app economy" will grow from $5.2 billion in 2010 to $58 billion by 2014, with the number of app downloads rising from 8.2 billion last year to 26 billion in 2013. ... For every Angry Birds (referring to a game app), there are about a thousand angry developers whose products didn't get discovered, ..."

Compass View
Regardless of the uniqueness of the product or services, those with greater resources and network (the less quality products) usually overwhelm those with less resources and network. ... Sometimes, people get lucky.

How does one thrives in the information economy?

Broadcasting one's signal over the mountains of noises is quite a task. ... Some of us now received a large quantity of input from subscriptions, e-letters, online publications, and solicitations, that we rarely need any more news or business information. In most cases, we do not know what sources to trust.

Conclusively, people just focus on the familiar and ignore the unfamiliar. In most cases, the familiar has a great deal of competition and a short seasonal cycle.

Read and Lead
The key is to read the Big Tangible Picture (BTP). Identify the situation by knowing the order, the sequence and the cycles. ... Lead by utilizing the strategic power to the fullest.