Sunday, July 31, 2011

Assessing the Big Tangible Picture: Connect the Dots!

Playing the Risk Game
In our competitive information economy, the height of the goal usually determines the scope of the risk and the quality of the competition. Concurrently, the quantity of unknown variables increases the quantity of risks.

Understanding the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) enables one to comprehend the risks, connect the dots and reap the rewards

Yahoo Misplayed the Risk Game
Assessing the Big Tangible Picture means one must also go through a slew of what-if situations. In this case, Yahoo did not properly perform that objective before making a deal with Alibaba.

Yahoo did not understand the risk, the uncertainty and the volatility of the situation. They did not weighted the possibility of changes within the various PESTO factors.. Since, the dots were not connected, Yahoo dd not reaped the rewards.

Compass Practice
Most unpleasant business news are usually broadcasted on Friday. The after-effects become obvious on the following Monday.

We might touch on the specifics of the Yahoo and Alibaba situation in a future post. .

The Abstract Behind The Process
Before dotting the i's and crossing the t''s, the successful strategists frequently tested their view of the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) with various "what-if" situations. They studied the causes and the effects from the various PESTO influences before making any strategic decisions.

By focusing on the "non-obvious" relevant points that are embedded within the PESTO influences, the successful strategists are able to integrated them into one Big Tangible Picture. During the strategic assessment review, they also determined whether if the rewards can be reaped.

Compass Rules:

  • The scope of any risk benefits is sometimes proportionally to the scope of the risk consequences.
  • In an extreme competitive situation, the risk benefits are rarely greater than the risk consequences.
  • Never pursue a risk where the impact of the consequences is greater than the impact of the rewards.
{This post has been updated on 08/01/11.}

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Assessing, Positioning and Deciding (5)


Whenever the scarcity of certain resources becomes pertinent, the game of supply and demand also becomes extreme for certain companies and their customer base. Simultaneously, the competitive intensity between those same companies has also increased.

At this moment, the choice for strategic assessment process and the strategic decision making process have become more significant for Chief Decision Makers. ...

What we have observed is that some Chief Decision Makers have a habit of consciously making an impulsive decision without thoroughly looking at the "Big Tangible Picture." They are focused on opinions not facts. ... (It is one significant topic that will be detailed in a future post.) These decision makers would also occasionally overlook a relevant factor that would negatively affect the bottom line during the completion of the grand objective.

Compass Rule of FOG:
Good decision-making should be based on facts not opinions and gossips.

While the upper tier companies can afford these errors., most companies do not always possess the capital and the resources to fix and survive.

Sometimes, bad decisions lead to ruined companies and tarnished reputations.

Do you and your team ever think about the positive after-effects and the negative after-effects of a strategic decision during the grand decision-making session?

{ This post has been updated with new information and some re-edited points. }

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Assess, Position and Influence (9): The Big Tangible Picture

There is no free lunch for the outcome-driven decision makers. To make the right decision in a time of scarcity and uncertainty, one must secure the right amount of quality information before ever making a tangible strategic decision.

Compass Rule:
The quantity of quality information is proportional to the quality of decisions.

The consummate objective for competing in our information economy is to achieve the maximum strategic effectiveness. ... Are you doing it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Assess, Position and Influence (8): The Big Tangible Picture

Q: What are the attributes behind the Big Tangible Picture (BTP)?
A: Our version of the Big Tangible Picture encompasses the following items:
  • the rules of the competitive terrain;
  • the history of the competitive terrain and the contending players;
  • the rate of change relating to the strategic influences;
  • the strategies and the tactics that were previously used; and
  • one's own plan
There are more items.

In a future post, we will cover the deliverable that comes from the understanding of the Big Tangible Picture (BTP).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Assess, Position and Influence (7): Last Move Advantage


There is no such thing as a last move advantage or a late starter advantage. Those protagonists with the right amount of political-legal influences can override most social-political-based business situations.

Compass Rule: When the political-legal rule is greater than the immediate economic benefit, the outcome becomes obvious.

Exception: Disrupt the power behind the political-legal rule and the social economic influence prevails.

First move advantage works when one has synchronized the proper set of political, economic, social and technological influences into their package of strategic power. We will touch more on this topic later.

The key to staying ahead of the curve is to know the Compass rules and the settings behind the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) before deciding strategically.

Compass Rule:
While the amateurs are usually focused on understanding the rules, the professionals already know the configuration and the scope of the terrain. They are just focused on the exceptions to the rules.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Assess, Position and Decide (1)

By climbing the global mountain of political-economic-social value chains, the successful (Compass) strategists realized the rule of "money in politics and politics in money" is always in play. They also recognized that the quantity of quality money is proportional to the quantity of intense competition.

The height and the intensity of the climb occasionally determines the state of one's awareness. Those who have no awareness, usually ruin their execution with poor presumptions and ill-timed adjustments. In summary, the element of time, economics and effort are wasted. Trust and stability are broken.

By looking ahead of the climb, the successful strategists identified the politics and determined the self interest. (Remember that self interest is the origin of most relationships.) Then they examined the economics by following the money trail.

Compass Rule:
There is money in politics and then there is politics in money. If one has the political-economic influence in their terrain, then they are ahead of their competitive game for the time being.

(The picture originated from Posiwid)

Compass Rule:
Self interest is the origin of most relationships.

Ruminations from the Compass Desk
To compete effectively in the information economy, he or she needs to understand the Big Tangible Picture (BTP). Having a tool that identifies the connectivity of influences, is quite helpful. It should encompasses a hierarchical set of rules from the various strategic classics.

Can one formulates a similar tool?

Do the following: surf the web; visit the various forums; read tons of books, find the rules; filter the reality from the illusion; distinguish the few professional views from the masses of amateur opinions; take the gamble of implementing it effectively in terms of logistics and economics, lose one's own reputation, etc. . . .

In summary, one can learn it the hard way or you can contact us.

In future posts, we will define what is a successful (Compass) strategist.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What is Strategic Power (Strategic Positioning)?

Compass Rule: One's position on the political-economic-social value chain is proportional to their response to the intensity of the competition.

Regardless of the competition, the key to prevailing in any venture is to establish effective strategic power (strategic positioning).

It begins by having a Big Tangible Picture that enables one to decide whether the act of cooperating or the act of competing or a simultaneous act of both acts is the best initial move for the moment.

Following is our conceptualization of what strategic power is about:
  • Using one's competitive disposition within the terrain as an advantage;
  • Anticipating the forthcoming opportunity and then timing one's potential to the best situation; and
  • Displaying the illusion and the reality simultaneously during any strategic situations.
Our book project covers more on this topic. We will post more information about it later.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Competing in the Global Economy: How Driven Are You?

Are you the leader or the chaser?

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed...every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle...when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

During the course of our research, we discovered that most of the so-called entrepreneurs were not that competitive. Some were just following what the herd is doing. Others were just happy that they are barely making an impact in their niche and got their slice of the pie for that year.

We randomly estimated that less than 5% of the entrepreneurs are extremely competitive.

It is important to assess yourself and your terrain every so often. Ask yourself if you are willing to take the next big step in order to compete.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Assessing the Big Tangible Picture: Connect the Dots

Simple reasoning is not always as real as what the owner has stated. There is always something more to the given truth.

Recently the Five Guys invaded the home state of the In and Out Burger, We do not know if they will thrive on the long run. ... It has been rumored that their burgers are tasty and expensive . Depending on where one stands in the social economic value chain, the only real complaint is the price. In life, quality cost.

At this moment, they are indirectly borrowing the marketing cloud of In and Out Burgers. Sooner or later the Five Guys's current model of high-priced quality burgers will not work. ... Based on their numbers, they are ahead of the curve for this macro moment.

Without a good view of the Big Tangible Picture, one's luck can only last for so long.

Compass Rule: The order and the cyclical state of the terrain determines everything. No business model lasts a long time without the right amount of political influences, economic influences and other specific influences that must be in play. ... There are always a few exceptions to that situation. ... Knowing them and using it against the general rule is the key to emerging success.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Importance of Intelligence Assessment

Here is an interesting AP news item on how the U.S. intelligence agency found Osama bin Laden.

There is a rule of thumb about "acting on a specific intelligence item." If it is about 80%+ completed in terms of relevancy, most people would usually run with it. ... No intelligence stays static for a long period of time. ... Depending on the setting, the rate of change becomes a pertinent factor. ... Generally, most people do not spend any time estimating the risk/reward for using a certain type of intelligence. ... They go with their gut instinct.

Compass Process:

Identify the order of intelligence. Determine its sequence. Examine its timing points. Analyze the quality of data with various "what-if" situations. In most cases, the chief decision maker will have a better idea whether he/she is one step closer to hitting their target.

Compass Rule:
With the right intelligence and the proper assessment process , one can promptly find the order within the abyss of disorder.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Defining the Macro Compass Rules

From the game of Go, one learns that there is a set of universal rules that cross the various competitive arenas. If one spends some time, playing this game and becomes mindfully aware of the many events around him or her. One becomes more alert to the Big Tangible Picture (BTP) that is around him or her.

1. The Dao is Everything.
There is a way (or an order) in every activity or setting. Knowing the macro sequence (and the micro connections) between each realm, usually offered one's the insight of what is the way.

2. The Sequence is Everything
For every way there are many sequences. Understanding the macro order (and the micro orders) within each sequence. One learns how it works

3. The Timing is Everything
Once the Dao and the sequence have been comprehended, one's must be able to time their actions to the situation.  Getting the feeling of timing is about cultivating one's sense of awareness.

How do these three rules fit into the topic of strategic assessment process? Knowing how things work and how it connects to other things, usually enable anyone to properly assess the Big Tangible Picture. The challenge is to take the time and the effort to do it properly.

Your Game
How do you plan your strategy? Have you ever assessed your target and its surroundings?

In any relevant competitive analysis checklist, the professionals usually focus on the following points: the extensiveness of their competition; their size; their strength; their location; their capabilities and the intentions of the target.

Do you do that?

Most people preferred not to operate with this amount of details. It usually confuses them. They preferred to teach and preach the art of inspiring leadership and hoped that things will work itself out regardless of their situation.

The Simplicity of Our Process
Know the Dao. Understand the sequence. Pinpoint the timing points. Only then one can successfully assesses anything. That is all one has to do.

Does your project team performed the above steps?