Yesterdayt, I posted on a TNW talk given by Nick Grossman, a partner at the New York venture capital firm, USV. As I thought about Nick’s presentation, I began to see more clearly that what Nick has done is greatly simplify the strategic model develop by Lafley and Martin in their book, “Playing to Win” and that is employed at Proctor and Gamble.
The key to understanding this model is getting a grip on the idea of “iterative questions”. For example, your strategy should be based on speculative answers to questions like these
- What are we trrying to achieve (what is winning?)
- Who is our target group to market our goods and services (where to we play)
- How do we gain a competitive advantage (How do we win+)
The answers that you generate to the above questions are not final in any sense of the word. They have to be tested as you go forward. And if you find that experience is not consistent with any one of your answers, you need to re-think all of the answers you are acting on.
Nick’s list of itereative questions are
- Purpose – why doi we exist?
- Mission – who do we serve?
- Strategy – how do we do it?
Again, the answers to these questions have to tie together. They are iterative. Sort of like this – “If this is who we are, then this is how we serve. If this is how we serve, this is what we should do.” Conversely, “If this is what we do, it should serve our target group. And if we serve our target group this wya, this is who we are becoming. ”
Nick takes thisto a personal level, based on his reading of a book called “Grit” by Lee Duckworth. Lee proposes that you set up a “goal hierarchy”. The biggest meta goals are at the top. They link down to goals for broader time periods or areas of work. These link down to goals for more narrow tasks needed to move forward. Lee’s point is that if the goals for your small tasks are not linked up to a meta goal, failure at the tiny area will lead to a breakdown. You are more likely to give up.
That is an important point because most of us give up on lots and lots of stuff. Most of us can’t maintain focus for extended periods of time. Most of us need to work on this. And if this is true on the individual level, it will certainly be true on the institutional level.
BTW, you can think of the above as a way to gamify strategicthinking. That has broad implications – not just for business, but for how we build meaning into our lives.
Food for thought!