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The 4 Faces of a Bad Strategy: Why People, Startups, and Established Organizations FAIL TO GET THINGS DONE
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The 4 Faces of a Bad Strategy: Why People, Startups, and Established Organizations FAIL TO GET THINGS DONE

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No one would deny the high mortality rate of startups as well as the rising mortality rate of former giants such as Kodak, Borders, and Blockbuster. Blackberry is on its sick bed. Six years ago, Wall …

No one would deny the high mortality rate of startups as well as the rising mortality rate of former giants such as Kodak, Borders, and Blockbuster. Blackberry is on its sick bed. Six years ago, Wall Street experienced a "financial tsunami" with once revered financial institutions being swept into oblivion. Yet, there is no agreement on why organizations fail.

This author posits that all organizations including startups and established businesses fail because of what Richard Rumelt's call "BAD STRATEGY." In his book, "Good Strategy, Bad Strategy," Rumelt presents the 4 major hallmarks of Bad Strategy. In this presentation, the 4 hallmarks or features of a Bad Strategy are illustrated on the Dramatic Story Canvas. In practice, Bad Strategy reflects inadequate problem solving at 3 levels: Visionary Level, Strategic Level, and Operation Level. Benefits of the above presentation include rapid recognition and understanding of the 4 features of a Bad Strategy and how to avoid them in businesses, non-profit organizations, and personal lives.

http://goo.gl/fG7a5v


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  • Rod, I wish first to thank you for your kind words. I like that our 'waves' of thinking overlap and reinforce each other. I like also your suggested metaphors; with all honesty the faces one resonates mostly with me. Why? Because it is human and not technical.
    May be you would consider that each canvas, and based on its application, would have an appropriate name as a way of differentiation and ease of reference.
    Rod, I look forward to your forthcoming presentations. They always engage my mind and heart.
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  • Ali, Thanks for sharing the above presentation. I appreciate it. Also, I was delighted by your profound statement of 'I find that your canvas has many faces, depending on the intended application.' That's the idea that I'm really trying to convey about the Dramatic Story Canvas, which is a visual platform for diverse tools rather than a single tool that has one functionality. So although the Dramatic Story Canvas is presented as a one-page template, it has the versatility of a blank page: the Dramatic Story Canvas can be used to illustrate, plan, and manage any type of problem or project. As you succinctly put it, the Dramatic Story Canvas 'has many faces, depending on the intended application.' I was thinking of using the analogy of the many faces of the canvas, but I had not summoned enough courage as I thought that the analogy would be arcane to many readers. With you mentioning the 'many faces,' I'm now emboldened to associate the canvas with the metaphor of many faces. When the King of Metaphor implies or suggests a metaphor, I take it very seriously (:-)! To illustrate the functionality and versatility of the canvas, I also like to use the metaphor of a 'chameleon' as well as 'interface of the iPhone' and 'computer operating system.' I'm still experimenting to see which metaphor most resonates with readers. For now, I'm hedging on the metaphor of 'many faces.' Previously, I had used the caption of '4 Features of a Bad Strategy.' Now, I'm being more dramatic and using the topic of '4 Ugly Faces of a Bad Strategy.' It's a 'negative' analogy that's meant to grab attention. Finally, I had myself not come across the term 'Sunday Words' until I read it in Richard Rumelt's book, 'Good Strategy, Bad Strategy.' As you indicate, Rumelt was referring to 'Teleological Words' such as in prayers and dreams. I have stuck with 'Sunday Words' because I wanted to present the 4 'faces' of a Bad Strategy according to Rumelt, who is the source for the ideas. Thanks for highlighting the strange term of 'Sunday Words' as one must be careful that such terms are not misconstrued or misinterpreted given our global audience. Once again, thanks for your insightful comments. I really enjoyed reading them.
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  • Rod, I shared this lovely presentation with the comment 'The Clinic Canvas- this is what the great canvas by professor Rod King does'.
    I find that your canvas has many faces, depending on the intended application. In this case, we need to take the business into a clinic to diagnose its problems. You saved the clinic staff huge times by pointing out thoughtfully the four complaining blocks.
    I have to admit first my ignorance with the term 'Sunday Words', may be you meant hopeful prayers or wishes. Regardless, I couldn't agree more with your diagnosis. I ran across many organizations who don't even differentiate between vision and mission. Realizing that most businesses are fractal in their nature, the concept itself is very obscure to them.
    If the first step is wrong then what follows will be blindly following the wrong first step.
    Again, what I like about your canvas is that it fits the intended application. Your contributions are of high value-added, Rod.
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  • 1. Every  UNDERPERFORMING  OR  FAILING  ORGANIZATION  (business)   is   accidentally  and/or  deliberately  using  a  BAD  STRATEGY    
  • 2.  4  Faces  of  a  “BAD  STRATEGY”     Source:  Based  on  Rumelt,  R.P.  (2011)  Good  Strategy.  Bad  Strategy.  Crown  Business:  New  York.     #4ROD.  Dr.  Rod  King.  rodkuhnhking@gmail.com  &  hSp://businessmodels.ning.com  &  hSp://twiSer.com/RodKuhnKing   Problem   Pain:  (Un)Known   RED  OCEAN   BLUE  OCEAN   SoluXon   Gain:  (Un)Known   Business   Model   Business   Model   CHALLENGE   DIAGNOSIS   POLICY     ACTION  PLAN  (TO  DO)         Before     AEer     Strategic     Problem  Solving   ExecuXon   FLUFF   q  Mission?   q  Vision?   q  Values?   q  “Sunday  Words”   1 Targets  (Metrics)         Job  To  Get  Done/Experience   (Journey:  Strategy/ExecuCon)  
  • 3.  4  Faces  of  a  “BAD  STRATEGY”     Source:  Based  on  Rumelt,  R.P.  (2011)  Good  Strategy.  Bad  Strategy.  Crown  Business:  New  York.     #4ROD.  Dr.  Rod  King.  rodkuhnhking@gmail.com  &  hSp://businessmodels.ning.com  &  hSp://twiSer.com/RodKuhnKing   Problem   Pain:  (Un)Known   RED  OCEAN   BLUE  OCEAN   SoluXon   Gain:  (Un)Known   Business   Model   Business   Model   CHALLENGE   DIAGNOSIS   POLICY     ACTION  PLAN  (TO  DO)         Before     AEer     Strategic     Problem  Solving   ExecuXon   2 PROBLEM  (CHALLENGE)   Blindness:  Failure  to  face   problem  or  challenge   FLUFF   q  Mission?   q  Vision?   q  Values?   q  “Sunday  Words”   1 Targets  (Metrics)         Job  To  Get  Done/Experience   (Journey:  Strategy/ExecuCon)  
  • 4.  4  Faces  of  a  “BAD  STRATEGY”     Source:  Based  on  Rumelt,  R.P.  (2011)  Good  Strategy.  Bad  Strategy.  Crown  Business:  New  York.     #4ROD.  Dr.  Rod  King.  rodkuhnhking@gmail.com  &  hSp://businessmodels.ning.com  &  hSp://twiSer.com/RodKuhnKing   Problem   Pain:  (Un)Known   RED  OCEAN   BLUE  OCEAN   SoluXon   Gain:  (Un)Known   Business   Model   Business   Model   CHALLENGE   DIAGNOSIS   POLICY     ACTION  PLAN  (TO  DO)         Before     AEer     Strategic     Problem  Solving   ExecuXon   GOALS  AS  STRATEGY:   PresentaCon  of  goals  or   statements  of  desire  as  strategy   32 PROBLEM  (CHALLENGE)   Blindness:  Failure  to  face   problem  or  challenge   FLUFF   q  Mission?   q  Vision?   q  Values?   q  “Sunday  Words”   1 Targets  (Metrics)         Job  To  Get  Done/Experience   (Journey:  Strategy/ExecuCon)  
  • 5.  4  Faces  of  a  “BAD  STRATEGY”     Source:  Based  on  Rumelt,  R.P.  (2011)  Good  Strategy.  Bad  Strategy.  Crown  Business:  New  York.     #4ROD.  Dr.  Rod  King.  rodkuhnhking@gmail.com  &  hSp://businessmodels.ning.com  &  hSp://twiSer.com/RodKuhnKing   Problem   Pain:  (Un)Known   RED  OCEAN   BLUE  OCEAN   SoluXon   Gain:  (Un)Known   Business   Model   Business   Model   CHALLENGE   DIAGNOSIS   POLICY     ACTION  PLAN  (TO  DO)         Before     AEer     Strategic     Problem  Solving   ExecuXon   FLUFF   q  Mission?   q  Vision?   q  Values?   q  “Sunday  Words”   1 3 4 BAD  STRATEGIC  OBJECTIVES:   Failure  to  coherently  address   criCcal  issues  or  causes  as  in  a   set  of  “Dog’s  Dinner  ObjecCves”   2 PROBLEM  (CHALLENGE)   Blindness:  Failure  to  face   problem  or  challenge   GOALS  AS  STRATEGY:   PresentaCon  of  goals  or   statements  of  desire  as  strategy   Targets  (Metrics)         Job  To  Get  Done/Experience   (Journey:  Strategy/ExecuCon)  
  • 6. “Bad  Strategy  is   Long  on  Goals   And   Short  on  Policy  or  AcXon”   Richard  P.  Rumelt            
  • 7. How  to  Develop  and  Manage   A  Good  Strategy  
  • 8.  DRAMATIC  STORY  CANVAS  for  FormulaXng  and  ExecuXng  “Good    Strategy”     HolisGcally  Document,  Present,  and  Manage  OrganizaGonal  Success  (Failure)  in  Business  and  Life     #4ROD.  Dr.  Rod  King.  rodkuhnhking@gmail.com  &  hSp://businessmodels.ning.com  &  hSp://twiSer.com/RodKuhnKing   Problem   Pain:  (Un)Known   RED  OCEAN   BLUE  OCEAN   SoluXon   Gain:  (Un)Known   Business   Model   Business   Model   CHALLENGE:  Short/Medium/Long-­‐term   (Problems:  Constraints/Obstacles)   DIAGNOSIS:  HolisXc  Business  Model   (Causes/Insights:  Ext./Int.  Resources)   POLICY   (SoluCons:  Goals/ObjecCves/Strategy)   q C:  Collect  info  (on  business  model)   q D:  Define  customer  challenge,  pain,   unacceptable  trade-­‐off,  conflict,  or   Minimum  Viable  Problem  (MVP)     q M:  Measure  challenge,  pain,         trade-­‐off,  conflict,  or  problem   q A:  Analyze,  qualitaCvely  and   quanCtaCvely,  core  (80/20)  causes   or  simulate  business  model  drivers   especially  at  level  of  system,   environment,  and  supersystem;               use  analogies,  if  necessary       q G:  Generate  disrupCve  ideas  and   select  best  alternaCve            (MAXIMIZE  VALUE  OR  HAPPINESS:              Minimize  Cost,  Pain,  and/or  Waste;              Minimize  Weaknesses  and  Threats              Maximize  Revenue,  Delight,  Benefit              and/or  DifferenGaGon;              Maximize  Strengths  &  Opportuni.)   ACTION  PLAN  (TO  DO)  -­‐  Core  TacCcs/Coherent  AcCons:  Do-­‐Measure-­‐Learn  (DML)  Cycle   q  E:  Eliminate  –  Waste  (Defects)   q  R:  Reduce  –  Cost  (Pain),  e.g.,  size/cost;  complexity;  inaccessibility  (inconvenience);  Gme  (delay)     q  I:  Increase  –  Revenue  (Delight),  e.g.,  funcGonality/performance;  quality;  status  (brand);  customizaGon/interacGon   q  C:  Create  –  DifferenCaCon  (Awesome  Customer  Experience)   Before     AEer     “Good  Strategy”  Canvas:  9  Steps  of  Problem-­‐Based  Strategy  (CDMAG-­‐ERIC)   Strategic     Problem  Solving   ExecuXon   Targets  (Metrics)         Job  To  Get  Done/Experience   (Journey:  Strategy/ExecuCon)  
  • 9.  DRAMATIC  STORY  CANVAS  for  FormulaXng  and  ExecuXng  “Good    Strategy”     Source:  Based  on  Rumelt,  R.P.  (2011)  Good  Strategy.  Bad  Strategy.  Crown  Business:  New  York.     #4ROD.  Dr.  Rod  King.  rodkuhnhking@gmail.com  &  hSp://businessmodels.ning.com  &  hSp://twiSer.com/RodKuhnKing   Problem   Pain:  (Un)Known   RED  OCEAN   BLUE  OCEAN   SoluXon   Gain:  (Un)Known   Business   Model   Business   Model   CHALLENGE   DIAGNOSIS   POLICY     ACTION  PLAN  (TO  DO)         Before     AEer     “Good  Strategy”  Canvas   Strategic     Problem  Solving   Targets  (Metrics)         ExecuXon   Job  To  Get  Done/Experience   (Journey:  Strategy/ExecuCon)