Do you have a PLAN to win?

business strategy

Do you have a Plan to Win?

Do you have a PLAN to win….  No seriously.  What is your PLAN to win in business during the next year?

“Winning” lessons learned on the soccer Field

About 20 years ago I was asked to take over as the head soccer coach for a team of 12-year old boys.   This team had finished in last place or second to last place during the previous three seasons.  Despite this fact, I gladly accepted the challenge of coaching this team.  I had been the assistant coach for this team and I knew that the kids had talent.   My goals as the new head coach were to:  1) help the kids develop a love for soccer; 2) help the players improve their individual and team skills; and 3) TO WIN THE POST SEASON TOURNAMENT.

Winning the post season tournament was a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).  However, with the proper strategy and a full season to train and educate the kids regarding the finer points of the game, I felt that I had a fighting chance of achieving this BHAG. During that season, I taught the kids how to love the sport and how to improve individually and as a team.  During that season, when playing the better teams, I also took specific notes regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each of our opponents.  I focused particularly on the first place team from the previous seasons.

It was time for the tournament.  We made it to the final game and we were playing the number one team in the final championship game. To beat this team, I had to have a winning strategy.  My tournament strategy was to abandon some of the conventional ideas regarding the typical positions that each player would play during the match.  Instead of lining the kids up into the traditional positions (forwards, midfielders, defenders etc.), I took my two worst players and had them play man to man on the two best players of the other team.  Even though my two worst players weren’t great soccer players, they were great athletes and they were able to track the two stars on the opposing team every step of the game.  The result, we were able to neutralize the two best players on the other team.  Now, I had my 9 BEST players playing the 9 WORST players on each opposing team.  With this match up, were able to soundly defeat the number one seeded team and win the tournament.  What allowed me to accomplish this goal?  I had a strategy to win.

“Winning” Lessons learned from a CEO

A.G. Lafley is a business strategist who has been a winner in business throughout his entire career.  As the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Procter and Gamble, Lafley has proven that he knows how to win in business.  Recently, Lafley and Roger Martin have published a book entitled Playing To Win: How Strategy Really Works.  In this book, Lafley and Martin have created a set of five essential strategic questions that, when addressed in an integrated way, will move you ahead of your competitors.  Martin says he wanted to write it because he was perplexed that people say, “Oh, no, we’ve got to do a strategy exercise — it’s so complicated, so much work, and we’re not sure what we’ll get”.  But, according to Martin, it can be simple, fun, and effective. Lafley adds, “I’m surprised by how few people can say what strategy is. So we tried to create a do-it-yourself book for managers and leaders.”

5 Questions to ask yourself about your plan to win

In the book, Lafley and Martin lay out the five questions that every business owner should ask themselves:  These questions are:

1) What is our winning aspiration?

2) Where will we play?

3) How will we win?

4) What capabilities must we have in place to win?

5) What management systems are required to support our choices?

How well can you answer these questions regarding your business?  Are you confident that you are winning all of the business that you should be?  If you can’t clearly answer these questions, then maybe you aren’t winning as much as you could.  To learn more about how to win in business check out the summary of  A.G. Lafley and Martin’s book at Business Strategy

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