Showing posts with label business toolkit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business toolkit. Show all posts

Monday, 30 January 2017

Strategy: The Leader's Role by Richard Gourlay


The leader is the person ultimately in charge of defining the corporate goals of any organisation. It is the one role which a leader cannot delegate.  Strategy is the course to take to achieve your organisation goals. Without a strategy any organisation drifts aimlessly within its market, loosing its position and its customers. A clear set of goals allows a strategy  to be developed to achieve those goals, enabling the organisation to focus, find its direction and pull together towards those goals. 

Strategy: The Leader's Role by Richard Gourlay provides both the hard tools to assess and develop your goals and strategy and the soft tools which enables leader's to successfully implement those strategic shifts within their organisation.     

Leading From the Front

It is difficult to lead if you don't know where you are going and in this book, Richard Gourlay explains how to use key tools and concepts to assess your market and define your goals and set your direction of travel. How to weed out the noise which often drowns the clarity of thinking which leader's need to see where markets are going and enables them to define their vision for their organisation. 

Leading from the front can only happen if a leader is confident of where they are going and why they are taking that route. This book provides that clarity of purpose for leaders to assess and understand how to define what matters form what does not so that they can step up and out and lead from teh front.

Strategy: The Leader's Role 

In Strategy: The Leader's Role each step in building your vision, goals and strategy is explained with relevant tools and aids to enable you to develop your own unique strategy to fit you and your organisations circumstances. 

From assessing your core competancies as an organisation through to understanding where your market (s) are going. Strategy the Leader's Role explains in step by step chapters how to undertake your own assessment with models an examples of how others have achieved their strategy.

Tools include external market assessments well as internal market assessment tools to create strategic options. How to assess your organisational capability as well as how to use theses to create a strategic advantage. 

To buy this business book, just click the image or the link below:-

Monday, 6 July 2015

Managing Strategic Risk

When leaders think about risk management in business they are too often talking about legal compliance.  This is a common misunderstanding of risk by leaders, not seeing risk as primarily a strategic issue in business. This view of risk misses the strategic elements of risk, which leaders need to consider in defining their business model and in making strategic decisions. From start-up to exit risk is a strategic issue, which should underpin all strategic thinking.  

Developing leadership risk skills is an important element for leaders to understand that their approach to risk defines how the lead and what they lead. Strategic risk defines the type of business model that leaders develop through to which markets and where in them they choose to operate. 

Drawing up lots of rules and making sure that all employees follow them on the other hand can solve operational risk. Many such rules, of course, are sensible and do reduce some risks that could severely damage a company. But rules-based risk management focuses on legal requirements, not complete risk management. 

Understanding strategic risk and learning to how to manage key business risks throughout your business is an important skill set for leaders to develop in establishing their judgment in risk considerations and ensure they are integrated into strategic thinking.  There are two parts to risk, firstly identifying your strategic risk and then secondly how to actively manage the identified risks, which this article covers. If you would like to know more about strategic business planning then click this link here.

Here are some key questions to consider in identifying strategic risk:  

1. Risk Appetite 

The first stage in managing risk is to look at the leadership team and its surrounding stakeholders, both formal (Board, NED, shareholders) and informal (employees, advisors, channel partners) to map out the appetite to risk. The leaderships' risk appetite determines the overall approach the business will take to risk. Risk is always directly linked to reward, take no risk and you take no reward. Conversely take high risk and you could achieve high reward, but equally high failure. The more the leadership diversifies from its core skill sets it also increases the risk it takes. So risk is linked to the sector you are operating in, established and known is lower risk than emerging and unknown.       

2. How well is your strategy defined? 

Without a strategy your business is at high risk. If the leadership does not have a clear and articulated strategy, which is shared and owned, then the business is vulnerable to strategic drift, living in a dream and is without clarity and purpose. Having a strategy in place, provides the context of the business, with strategic goals, intent in positioning and outcomes defined which enable the business to drive forward. To learn more about strategy click here.

3. Strategic Risk Analysis

A business strategy must define the risk environment within which it operates. Strategic risk starts by looking at the risk of entering a market compared to the risk of not entering a market. Strategic risk management should compare not only the risks of the strategy but the reverse risks of not doing the strategy, the gap risk of missing the opportunity.

Strategic risk also covers risk analysis of the leadership and its approach to risk, how comfortable it is with risk reflects in how leadership teams actively manage risk which reflects its established risk skill set and appetite to risk across the board.

4. Strategic Risk Assessment

Risk, any risk is defined by the potential impact of the consequences from it. The manifestation of its likelihood of occurring is the assessment which must be undertaken, this is often scrutinized by undertaking scenario analysis (driven by board, NED and expert support and advisors) will encourage the leadership to consider a range of scenarios that can result in significant adverse consequences for the business and assist the leadership to make sure full width and depth analysis of strategic risk is undertaken.

This assessment provides the basis of mapping the risk and determining the investment in mitigation required to reduce or remove that risk.

5. Strategic Risk Mapping

leaders must see risk in the context of how shareholders or stakeholders measure value in the organization. This essential mapping of risk enables the leadership to articulate to stakeholders how the risks they are taking or the risks the business is exposed to may affect the organization’s ability to realize its strategic goals. By identifying common metrics for risk and performance also allows the leadership to define the priorities of risk management activities and focus on the mitigation of relevant and important and decision defining risks the board.

The second step, in creating an effective strategic risk management system is to understand the qualitative distinctions among the types of risks that a business could face and determining how to actively manage those risk. Risks typically fall into one of three categories and here's how leaders should be managing them:

1. Managing: Strategic risks.

The leadership having determined the level of risk it is willing to take in order to generate the returns from its strategy, its risk and reward profile, leaders must then develop appropriate channel partners to achieve that strategy. From its bankers credit risk, its strategy of launching new products through to its channel partner selection, all these decisions impact upon the strategic risk strategy. 

Strategic risks are quite different from operational risks because they are not inherently undesirable; they are quite the reverse they are deliberately accepted as part of operating within that industry. A strategy with high returns requires the business to take on higher risks, and actively managing those risks is a key driver in achieving those potential gains.

Strategic risks cannot be managed through a rules-based control models, such as compliance to legislation. Instead, the leadership must install a risk-management system designed to reduce the probability that the assumed risks actually materialize and to improve the company’s ability to manage or contain the risk events should they occur. Such systems enable companies to take on higher-risk, higher-reward ventures by identifying drivers of strategic risk, most often these are identified through 5 Forces analysis within markets and systems usually include primary (and secondary fallback) detailed objectives which must be achieved which underpin the strategy to actively manage the strategic risks.    

2. Managing: External risk factors

Certain strategic risks arise from events outside the company and are beyond its influence or control, often identified through PESTLE analysis. These major macroeconomic risks are outside the market but directly influence it. PESTLE identification and analysis enable leaders to manage the external risks effectively, through proactive identification and mitigation of their impact. For example changing economic conditions may raise global interest rates, which put pressures on even successful businesses, which impacts upon costs and profits.

Businesses need to build a defined risk management processes to these different PESTLE categories. By identifying key drivers of external change leaders can devise stress testing through scenario planning and devise alternative strategic options should external risk factors come into play.

3. Managing: Preventable internal risks. 

Conversely internal risks, arising from within the organization, that are controllable and ought to be eliminated or avoided. Businesses should have well defined internal risk systems in place which includes a tolerance level, such as 95% of all calls must be answered within 3 calls, in other areas health and safety for example mandatory 100% requirements for the use of PPE and operating systems must always be in place.  

Businesses should seek to eliminate these risks since they get no strategic benefits from taking them on. This risk category is managed through active prevention by monitoring operational processes and guiding people’s behaviors and decisions toward desired norms.

Identifying and managing preventable risks is about good management of existing best practices within the legal and industry best practice.  Companies cannot anticipate every circumstance or conflict of interest that an employee might encounter, so ensuring that risk is talked about, reviewed and assessed against best practice. 

Managing Risk effectively

Risk is a difficult subject for leaders, precisely because it is seen as an operational detail rather than strategic in nature. Business planning sets over optimistic forecasts, from unrealistic timescales to launch new products and services through over inflated revenue streams.  This form of linear extrapolations, how leaders have done it before will be immediately repeatable with something new is compounded by the use of conformation bias, selectively picking supportive data and ignoring unsupportive data. This form of groupthink often limits the risk discussion by narrowing the discussion down to it will happen rather than taking a holistic approach to risk.

Other key drivers of strategic risk failure come from leaders ignoring industry activity, how fast and quickly competitors will react to any new strategic initiatives to minimize their impact upon the status quo and how channel partners and customers will sound supportive but will measure the risk to them and mitigate it by limiting their exposure to risk. How industries react to change is one important consideration from an effective 5 forces analysis of any market. How do they players react to change is often analyzed by war-gaming with scenarios played out in theoretical games to see the impact of industry competition.

By strategy mapping your business leaders can often assess all risks linked to objective setting, looking at risk events associated with each objective and generate a risk profile for each risk and associated mitigation strategy.

Recently the adoption of the balanced scorecard has become a major way of mitigating risk, by linking mitigation to performance driver indicators of behavior within the organization. This highly effective risk management tool enables companies to engineer risk out of departments through positive mitigation strategies.  

For areas of risk which cannot be mitigated from within the company, such as natural disasters or acts of terrorism, then developing contingency plans act as mitigation to unforeseeable external risks. Not putting all leaders on the same plane is a simple example of contingency planning as is having secondary operational site, should your primary site be unusable from either natural causes such as flooding or from acts of terrorism.

Like to know more about strategic business planning then learn more through my video course on strategic business planning, which will reduce your risk in succeeding within your market, then click this link.

Richard Gourlay, how to take the guess work out of your business success

Good leaders embrace risk, they do not avoid it and investing time and skills into understanding and actively managing risk is an important element of leadership.  Good strategic planning encompasses strategic risk assessment and leadership teams need to invest in understanding their risk if they wish to succeed in their market.  

Friday, 31 May 2013

Business Startups: How to Start your Business Successfully

Starting Up A Business: You Need a Business Plan 

Starting a business is an exciting and yet daunting time for everyone, from the seasoned veteran to the first time start-up. Starting up a new venture in any field is one of the most frightening steps anyone can take. Stepping out from the known and safety of being part of another community to stand alone with your idea sounds exciting and thrills people, but also creates a mountain of new and often insurmountable challenges.  

The excitement of starting a new business can be quickly matched (and outshone) by the size of the daunting challenge you have set yourself. Where do you start in turning your idea into a business? For many it is talking it through with friends and family, seeing if it has legs, if it is a runner, trying to find the next step in turning the idea into a business.     

Hidden Challenges Facing All Entrepreneurs

The next stage for many is to try to write down a plan of what they are trying to launch. This is where most people struggle, what to plan and how to plan what you are doing. How to turn your embryonic idea into a fully sized business is one of the hidden challenges facing every entrepreneur.

For many creating a business plan, is too big a challenge, re-defining it as a pointless exercise, or more realistic something they know they need to do, but want to postpone having to do it until the last moment, or later. Quite often planning their business is something entrepreneurs want to or try to delegate to other people. They want to keep the model flexible, or often in their head, I am working on it are other phrases I come across.

Putting All the Pieces Together

Yet to take any idea from embryonic idea to a recognizable business model, requires an investment in planning all the details of your business. Not just focusing on the core product or service, the exciting concept, but functional aspects of how the business will operate, from where and how, what operations have to be undertaken and by whom.   

Then a business needs to answer the biggest challenge, where will the customers come from and how. This key area is one, which entrepreneurs struggle to define publicly and honestly, relying on the old adage “build it and they will come.” But turning an idea into a successful business requires more than hope, it requires a clear plan, based upon a defined winning strategy driving a business model which makes sense and explains why it will succeed.

Optimum Solution  

The first step many successful entrepreneurs undertake is to review their idea and build their strategic plan, to take their idea from embryonic idea to a fully formed business model. From understanding your market and the size and scale of opportunity, to working out where to position yourself and what needs to happen to create interest in what you are offering and how you need to respond to it.

Developing a strategic perspective is a vital first stage in developing an agile and responsive business, by defining your strategic plan enables entrepreneurs to fully assess the whole business model, evaluating all aspects of your business and giving you all the ingredients for a business plan.   

Take Some Action

However you decide to start your business, do look for support. Run your idea past experienced people in bringing businesses to market, look at answering the difficult questions early, while optimism is vital, so is reality as is persistence.
If you are looking to develop your business model then look at developing your strategic plan for your business then why not look at my Business Planning Toolkit, how to take the guess work out of your business success video click here to see the video which will give you a clear strategic plan for your business.  

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

How to Find Growth: Business Planning Toolkit


The Key Role of Leader: Growth

The key role of every leader in any organisation is to determine the direction of where they are leading their organisation. A leaders success or failure is determined by what growth they achieve. You are leading yourself, your people, your shareholders, and your customers to where you want to go. All successful growth strategies set and work towards goals.

Leaders can often make sound and good decisions about things they can see and clearly understand. Often leaders, directors and owners have advice and support systems built into their day to day decision making, but when planning tomorrow's growth it is not always so easy. Many leaders struggle with looking and making decisions beyond the known horizon. It is hard to see beyond the tangible, beyond the concrete, beyond the known.

This is why I have created my Business planning Toolkit, built upon my 20 years of experience, to help you to learn how to successfully look and find growth opportunities and turn them into growth. My business planning toolkit will enable you to Take the guess work out of your business success.      

Leaders need to plan for growth.

Leadership success is always about delivering tangible growth, where have you taken your business and why. Knowing that you need to find growth is one thing, but knowing how to find the right direction to take, where to look and find real growth or answer the hidden real challenge of being able to assess which growth options to follow and which to disregard is quite another. 

Here's a great example of getting it wrong. The CEO of LA Gear grew his company from $11 million to $820 million in sales in just four years by focusing on unique, fashionable shoes that were expertly marketed.

Then chasing three huge opportunities they killed the company stone dead. To keep growth coming LA Gear sold excess product at deep discounts which devalued the brand, invested heavily into basketball shoes, not their core market and offered low-end shoes at Wal-Mart.

How to find growth 

There can therefore be good growth and bad growth, how do you know which one to nail your colours to as a leader. Growth opportunities need to be assessed and verified. They need to be understood as part of a long term strategy, not a quick tactical grab which helped to end LA Gear.

So leaders need to develop clear strategies which support and drive long-term brand value, and not grab at passing opportunities just because they have some big short-term numbers attached to them.  Assessing where you are going against long-term key performance measures is one key way which all successful major companies use, the balanced scorecard.

Putting all the Steps Together      

These are just some of the key steps which take your business from a cold start to a roaring firebrand, going where you want to take your business. I've put together my Business Planning Toolkit to Take the guess work out of your business success that takes you step-by-step through the simple steps of how successful business leaders plan their business.  

How to take the guess work out of your success

This step-by-step process that takes you through each step that builds logically and effectively to your effective growth plan. Short videos take you effectively through each step, with plain English explanations supported by a thorough workbook with all the templates you need to take the guess work out of your business success. From finding growth to setting goals and monitoring your progress towards them.

Here's 5 benefits from following my Business Planning Toolkit to find growth:- 

  1. 12 weekly 5 minute videos - watch when you want to online. 
  2. Simple steps - which move you forward one step at a time
  3. Robust processes used by successful leaders 
  4. 63 page Workbook - fully explained with all templates 
  5. My guidance to show you each step with key tips to avoid the pitfalls.

See the video which explains more, click: How to take the guess work out of your business success.

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