Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thoughts on Creating a New Course for 2012

Thriving in the information economy means having the right set of ideas that motivate its followers to a high goal. Finding them require some thinking time.

The Schema
Decide on a timeline between now and the next three days. Choose a quiet setting. Reflect on the compass of your settings. Assess your Big Tangible Picture in terms of your competitive terrain. Identify the competitive influences that connects to the grand terrain.

Write down your resolutions. Build your Tangible Vision. Delineate each particular point in terms of priorities, approaches and changes. Script the steps for each resolutions. At that point, analyze whether each resolution is based on your experience, your beliefs, your faith, your observation, assessed intelligence or a combination of the previously mentioned points. Review and re-edit again.

The Implementation
Throughout the year, there will be a time to re-edit and update one's own Tangible Vision. The best part of the process is the action of crossing out the completed objectives.

While the goal-driven strategists write their resolutions in ink, the process-minded strategists usually scripted their resolutions in pencil and slowly update it in ink. (That is a Compass rule.)

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Competing in the Info Economy: Understanding the Seasonal Cycle

To properly compete in the information economy, one should always consider the cyclical stage of the targeted terrain as a decision point.

Assess the Big Tangible Picture of your competitive terrain.
Position yourself toward the opportunity before the market cycle rises
Influence the opportunity before the cycle declines and the configuration of the terrain changes.

Q: Do you know how to assess your competitive terrain?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


For those who are interested in unique holiday gifts:

We suggested the following items:
Side note:
Mark McNeilly has just updated his Art of Business book. His pragmatic view on how to build a plan with his version of Sunzi strategic principles, is quite good.

We also highly recommended Dr. Sawyer's latest book on Ancient Chinese Warfare .

[DISCLAIMER] We were not compensated for our suggestions.

For those who are in a charitable mood, please donate your spare books to BookMooch. Please respond kindly to those who are in need of various reading resources.

We wish Happy Holidays to our readers
--- Compass360 Consulting Group

Monday, December 12, 2011

Crisis and Opportunity

"... Every crisis carries two elements, danger and opportunity. No matter the difficulty of the circumstances, no matter how dangerous the the heart of each crisis lies a tremendous opportunity. Great blessings lie ahead for the one who knows the secret of finding the opportunity within each crisis. ... " -Chinese Proverb

Mozilla is one of those companies who thrives on the web user's need for a better browser. As a pony with a few tricks, they can only go so far.

Mozilla's Strategic Position
Following is a listing of Mozilla's current (and possible) dilemmas:
How can Mozilla improve their situation especially when they are caught between a rock (the partnership with Google) and a hard place (the decline of Firefox users)?

By recognizing the significance of the CarrierIQ fiasco, Mozilla should focus on the paramount need for browser's safety and security. ... They are now centering their attention on the mobile phone industry.

Mozilla should disregard their current position and focus on developing quality features.

Our Compass Forecast
In the information economy, transparency and safety are never guaranteed. The company who maintains the social-economic attention of those who desired attention and digital security, will always have a market.

Regardless how technology evolves, the offering of quality products and/or quality services is essential. Focusing on the basic users needs is paramount to one's success.

Developing digital security for all significant high-tech. devices is an unique niche that usually goes on a infinite mode. The evolutionary contest between the "black hat" hackers and the computer security developers (aka. the gatekeepers) is continuous. The gate keepers are focused on building a better wall. Occasionally, they might upgrade it by adding a few unique counter-offensive measures. ... Where the other side concentrates on the identification of the various weak points within the wall. Sometimes, the hackers win. For the time being, the developers are winning while the users are just surviving.

History shows that the most sophisticated defense are for those who can afford to have it regardless of the medium.

Side note
One exception to this scenario is the Blackberry phone . This device has great security features for those who can afford it. ... It seems that President Obama used to be a big user of this phone. ... Marketwise, it also does not appeal to the consumers for a myriad of reasons. ... Do not be surprised if a relevant party will buy RIM within the next 12 -18 months.

Rimunatons from the Compass Desk 
In unsettling times, the successful strategists usually look past their own marketplace and focus on the various niches within the global digital marketing terrain, where one has a strong expertise and the competition is quite weak. Whatever specific area that they are weak at, the company will recruit the best.

When one becomes successful, he/she should be aware of the increased probability of newer competitors sprinting into their niche.

When assessing one's own competitive position in their specific market terrain, the chief decision makers must consider the connectivity of the following points: the configuration of their marketplace and beyond, the state of their organizational leadership, the logistics of building and maintaining their operation, the state of resources, the technology and the strategic gameplan.

By connecting the dots before the competition does, one can position themselves into a superior state of strategic effectiveness.

The question is, are you in that position (of strategic effectiveness) yet?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Reality of Playing the Strategy Game (4)

{ We offer a thank you to Mr. TrhSkr of Tx. for the suggestion of this article. }

In the pro sport business, each previous game is studied repeatedly. Each side idealistically knows the tendencies of the other. How does one surprises their competition during the game?

The Concept
1. Understand the tendencies of of both sides.

The design of the surprise plays is to be conceptually opposite of the implementer's tendencies while connecting toward the anticipated tendencies of the competitors.

Beside deceiving and manipulating the competitor's mindset, this tactical mean could also invigorates the implementer's team.

Implementation During the Confrontation
Influencing the competition toward one's psychological direction by targeting on their tendencies. Soon, they will believe that they really know their counterpart's decision management process. The occurrence of an anticipated situation allows the chief decision maker(s) to implement the deception.

The success usually energizes the implementer's team while demoralizing the competition. Idealistically, the outcome must be a momentum changer. They rarely lead to an immediate win.

You can find more information on this topic by reading the following Chinese strategy classics (i.e., Dr. Sawyer's Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, 100 Unorthodox Strategies, Sun Bin's Military Methods, Dr. Ames's translation of Sun Bin, etc.)

Reality Check
Do you know if your competitors are gaining market share by deceiving the customer base?

If so, how are you countering it?

Always assess the Big Tangible Picture before deciding on anything relevant.

Stay focused to one's grand objective by avoiding the feeling of fear and panic. Remember to ensure that the attributes of one's grand objective connects to the Big Tangible Picture.

Then, ask yourself the following question- who is ahead of the curve and the competition? If you want to know what are the rest of the questions, send us a note. Or ask your "loco" Sunzi reader/expert if he or she knows those questions.

Through the comprehension of the Big Tangible Picture, one feels no fear, no uncertainty, and no doubt.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Reality of Playing the Strategy Game (3)

What is your plan when you know the moves of your opposition and vice-versa?

Many weeks ago, UCLA's played against the University of Utah's in a game of football. The Utah's team current offensive coordinator Norm Chow worked under Rick Neuheisel, UCLA head coach for the last three football seasons. Both people knew how each other thinks.

Said Neuheisel: "It's the ultimate game of rock, paper, scissors. I know what he does in situations, but he knows I know and may do something different."

So, who had the advantage?

The person who understands the Big Tangible Picture and have the grander strategic experience to make the good decisions. He would understand the impact of the weather in the terrain and utilizes that factor into the strategy.

Click here for the aftermath of not achieving the given goal.

Notes from the Compass Desk
In the sport competition business, almost everyone in the sport play-calling business knows what their counterpart is going to decide in certain situations. They have near to full access to video data and numeric data. After hours of compiling and reviewing the data, they are focused on determining their counterpart's situational tendencies.

It is rare that one changes their decision approach in midstream. They regularly focused on their strengths while concealing their obvious weaknesses. Then, there are those who who can change their decision approach. They usually have a very strong strategic foundation that enables them to be efficient and be flexible.

It is almost the same way in real life. Most people regularly ramrodded their approach to their opposition without ever assessing the Big Tangible Picture of their settings (and beyond). Sometimes, they encountered the risk-consequences that could change their grand objective and their tactical approach. ...

In your marketplace, do your competitors know your objectives and your tactics? Better yet, do you know your competitors objectives and tactics?

Focusing on achieving peak efficiency is what most companies do. ... After awhile, achieving efficiency could only go so far. The smart companies usually focus on beating their competitors while achieving the optimal position within their marketplace. ... Knowing the plans of your competitor and beating them to the punch lowers the long term costs and the timeline. Thawing the opposition's plans is the essence of strategic effectiveness.

Do you know how to achieve this unique objective?

{updated on 12.08.2011}

Friday, December 2, 2011

Assessing the Big Tangible Picture: Connecting the Dots from the Geographic Terrain to the Marketplace

from Stratfor

The following example focuses on where the actual physical terrain becomes a macro variable in the enhancement of one's strategic position within the regional marketplace.

The dense river network in northwestern Europe (not to mention more roads and railways) affords that region much lower transportation costs. Thus, Northern nations have a significant competitive advantage in exporting. The one trick that the Southern nations (Greece, Italy, Spain, etc.) had up their sleeves—devaluing their currencies to make their exports cheaper—ended with the adoption of the euro. - Stratfor

Germany gained a trade surplus while Italy became stuck with a national debt at 120% of GDP.

In summary, those who have seized the advantages of their location, will usually prevail on the long term.  

Following are some of the questions that we have used to analyze our client's competition:

  • What are the current state and the future state of each competitor?
  • Which competitor has the superior accessibility of the market terrain?
  • Which competitor has the easiest market terrain for reaching their goal?
  • Which competitor has the best approximation to completing their goal?
  • Which competitor has the "greater" strategic vantage of the terrain?
* These general questions are based on the various Art of War principles. It has been rewritten for this post.

Click here, here and here for the latest Euro update.

In summary, how do you and your strategy team viewed the Big Tangible Picture of your marketplace?

Focus on identifying the current state of your terrain. Determine the configuration of your terrain. Then, connect the relevant dots before the competition does. Then reap the rewards.

{The post was updated on 12.05.11 .}