During the lockdown portion of the pandemic, I spent some time going back to school to freshen up on some of my skills. I took a certificate in marketing and a course in the entrepreneurship of consulting.
But the one I’m most proud of is the certificate of corporate strategy program I completed from Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Two reasons for that:
One, I can be a total blowhard about having taken coursework at Cambridge University.
Two, because I feel like we all need a refresher in strategy to help us deal with the uncertainty that will be with us once the pandemic finally subsides.
In that vein, I started going through my notebooks from the course this week to help me think through some ways to apply these new ideas to my work. So I wanted to layout 10 ideas for a successful post-pandemic strategy.
1. Strategy is about power: Dr. Kamal Munir created a great framework that shows that all strategy is about power now. Over your customers, competition, and suppliers.
Keep the idea of power in mind moving forward.
2. For the foreseeable future, we are all going to be dealing with a VUCA environment:
Volatile. Uncertain. Complex. Ambiguous.
This means that no matter what our best-laid plans are, they are likely to be hit by some outside force that threatens them.
3. Your strategy needs to help you explain why you’ll be more successful than your competition:
In my thinking the last few months, I’ve been trying to simplify everything to the point that I could teach my son’s middle school class exactly what is going on.
At the end of the day, a strategy should help you explain why you’ll be successful against your competition.
4. Strategy is about choice:
You have to make a decision about what you are going to focus on. But just as important is the decisions you make to not do certain things.
Strategy is the recognition that you can’t be everything to everyone.
5. There can only be one low-cost leader:
That is the business that has the ability to have the lowest costs of production.
Everyone else is racing to the bottom only to lose.
6. Where strategy and marketing come together is at the point of differentiation:
A well-trained marketer will tell you that they don’t believe you have to be a commodity that there are always ways to create enhanced value and elevate a product or service.
This idea is at the heart of most successful strategies. And, if it isn’t, it explains why a strategy is failing.
Remember, only one low-cost winner!
7. If you can lock in network effects, do it:
This increases your power by having people use more and more of the tools, products, and services that your organization offers and locks folks into your organization’s value proposition.
Having network effects is often the first step in creating an ecosystem.
8. If you are in an ecosystem, know your role in the ecosystem:
Value is created in many different ways now.
If you are part of an ecosystem, know what role you are playing.
Are you a fringe player? Core player? Center of the universe?
9. If you want a dynamic strategy, you’ll recognize that this means you are always changing:
There will always be new ways to capture value. New ways to add value. And, new ways to do business.
10. A great strategy alone doesn’t equate to more profits:
Going forward, your strategy will require you to continue to grow, learn, and improve. That was probably a good idea before the pandemic, it is a better idea now.
As you work through your post-pandemic strategy plans, let me know what ideas are guiding you.