7 Deadly Sins of Strategies – Are you guilty?

Once upon a time… there were strategies for everything.  While having  a business strategy is often the anchor strategy you may also find a sales strategy, a marketing strategy and now a digital strategy in your business.

Digital strategies and the transformation they drive is evolving business’ from analog to digital.  The journey is fast and furious. As a result of this businesses who choose not to get on board now also risk becoming irrelevant, disrupted or extinct.



Digital must now be core to every part of your business.  Every decision that is made in the business should start with… So how will digital make this ….?

Digital strategies – Are you a sinner or saint?

1/  STRATEGY SIN:  You are business-centric 

Your business offers X products and Y services as a result of perceived customer demand. Naturally, because of this approach, you position your business strategy to continue to improve and deliver these products and services. Your focus is to also deliver these products and services with lower cost and higher returns. Does this sound familiar?

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Become customer-centric 

Your customers determine the success of your business.  Now is the time to audit your business and benchmark how you perform in your industry and against best practices. This process will also help your business to understand what customers want now and in the future. Furthermore if you do the same thing the same way  your should expect to get the same result. In business today you are almost certainly going to get a much lesser result and see diminishing returns. This will also progressively compromise the viability and relevancy of your business.

2/  STRATEGY SIN: Cutting costs to remain competitive

When the going gets tough a lot of businesses would rather cut their costs and bunker down to weather the storm than be proactive. This behaviour closes the eyes of your business  rather than making your business aware of what is happening around you.  It also puts your business in a defensive position and increases your business vulnerability on price point and not on value.  This is a game that your business will almost certainly never win and you will continue to lose market share.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Invest in your business’ future

There is no doubt that due to the necessity for change and ongoing disruption the interruption of the traditional business model cannot be ignored.  To stay relevant you also need to understand the customer climate and innovate based on qualified and quantitative data.  As a result of this action being taken your business will be empowered to grow and outshine your competition. An investment based on intelligence and visualization is money well spent.

3/  STRATEGY SIN: Being reactive 

Your competitors are changing their business models and embracing technology. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel. If your competition are doing it successfully you assume  it is what the market wants so you invest in a version of what your competitors are doing to remain competitive.  You compete on cost to offer an alternative that is attractive for your customers as an option to your competitors more expensive offering. This will make your competitive….right? Remember when you take this approach are trusting that your competition has made the right decision for you.


Being reactive means you are always behaving from what ‘has happened’.  The key words here are ‘has happened’ .  Working in the past tense is disadvantaging your business as you are always trying to mimic or catch up to where you think you should be.  Strategic planning with digital tools at the core of your decision making ‘turns the tables’ and puts you back in the driver’s seat. You are able to introduce indicative and predictive analytics based on market intelligence.

4/  STRATEGY SIN: Culture adverse 

By accepting that the culture in your business does not or will not change you are condemning your business to a bleak future.  Technology is often mistaken as digital transformation where it really is a tool that facilitates it. The true driver is your people and the culture in your business.  Culture will have a bigger impact on your P & L going forward than technology ever will alone.


Culture change doesn’t happen overnight and cannot happen without people in your business championing digital transformation and owning it.  When this starts from the C-suite down the momentum starts to swing but the key is identifying, incentifying and rewarding people in your organisation who champions and lead change.  These are the people who will work with their teams to make true digital transformation happen. Invest in resource to bring into your business to educate, facilitate and guide your business.

5/  STRATEGY SIN: Tunnel Vision

Planning a strategy that is projected on what you know or think you know now will be fatal.  The 3 year/5 year strategies that have been the mainstay for legacy businesses as the bible of what they will do next, how they will resource and what they will invest in is now redundant.  Your business vision needs to recognize that business is changing almost before the ink dries on the bound print strategy on your desk.  Today’s business strategy is a living and breathing document that must be agile to respond to change as it occurs.


You must look outside of the centre of your focus to be able to see what is happening in your industry and even in other industries that may disrupt or change the course of yours.  Smart and agile startups that are only interested in giving your customers what they want, where and when they want it should be on your radar. The strategies start-ups work from are agile and living.  They make changes to their strategies that reflect what the customer is saying and are responsive to change. This enables them to deliver immediacy and satisfaction.

6/  STRATEGY SIN: Competing with yourself

Silos are nothing new in business and silos competing for budget dollar in a business isn’t new either. This annual push and shove for the budget business dollar dilutes the power of the business to perform in an agile manner.  If department A is competing with department B to achieve their independent objectives you have to ask these questions.

  • What is happening to the companies goals of achieving their objectives?
  • Is the business being obsured by  internal politics and is this overriding what is important to the business holistically?

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Making yourself competitive

Your business needs to establish strategies that are customer led and are driven by digital at their core.

  • How can you better manage your business by embracing digital?
  • Who should own digital in your business to drive this?

You need to hold digital accountable for this!  Digital should touch and impact every part of your business model and your business operations (yes your people). Technology is critical to make this happen.  This will arm your business to be ready to compete with disruption, change and challenges. Your business will evolve to become a smart and innovative digital leader.

7/  STRATEGY SIN: Set and forget

Does this sound familiar?

Your business strategy has consumed your business time and resources. You have ensured that you have addressed everything you need to and it has been documented ready for board approval.  The presentation goes well and the strategy is approved. Beautifully bound volumes of your business strategy are sent to key stakeholders across the business….then what?

Meetings follow and key elements of the strategy are implemented.  The challenge is that a lot of what is written on those pages is left sitting on desks.  It is highly likely as time passes that they will gather dust and be overlooked or simply ignored. This could be due to the either the challenges of the day-to-day running of the business or lack of time rather than intent.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Making it happen iteratively

Strategies need to be informed before they can be determined and your current and prospective customers should be the authors of your strategy.  Once you learn what your customers and stakeholders need and want you have qualified data that illustrates direction and enables smart decision making.

  • What if your business could have a strategy that was licensed to be implemented iteratively and incrementally? This would effectively take the strategy off those pages and deliver quick wins as it is implemented.
  • What if these wins could offset cost, reduce resources, improve sales and be measured by other benchmarks to grow the business.

This would justify investment and also empower your business to change course as your customers needs and wants change. This would give your business the competitive advantage you need. This is how true digital transformation works.

Please feel free to add other strategy sins that are not listed here and their remedies!  How we behave as businesses has never made us more vulnerable than we are now.

Your business  can not afford to invest in a digital transformation.

No business is exempt from change and everything you hear and see suggests that this is only the beginning.

Originally posted 2016-04-10 15:20:28.

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Fraud and Scamming: Are you likely to become a victim?

Fraud and scamming have become an epidemic, as technology advances faster than we can protect ourselves.

fraud and scamming

The question on everyone’s lips is, do I really own my digital identity? The truth is we don’t, and that is why fraud and scamming is so rampant. The challenge is to come up with solutions that protect a business, personal and government identity footprint   This is becoming one of the biggest opportunities to explore.

Trending in digital identity…

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the evolution of fraud, it’s that criminals almost always take the path of least resistance

TMG Fraud Prevention Manager Ashley McAlpine

Fraud and Scamming:  Where are you vulnerable?


What you need to be aware of::

 Fraud against seniors and others who are vulnerable is on the rise, as scammers are getting more brazen and inventive.  Scammers often market under the following guises:

Some common ways scammers adopt to effect fraud:

Be aware of scammers who are using social media to steal personal identities and swindle people out of money.

Email phishing has come a long way and is now more sophisticated and  prevalent than ever before

Telemarketing fraud and scamming where you are asked to send money to people not known by the sender personally or giving personal or financial information to unknown callers.

Porting phone numbers is a way scammers can assume someone’s identity. Once a scammer takes control of the victim’s phone, he or she may be able to access the victim’s bank accounts that are linked to the phone number.

The old saying ‘if it is too good to be true, it probably is’, is something that we should all be mindful of when it comes to scammers.


What you need to be aware of:

Changing IoT solutions is affecting how we buy and pay for products and services

Early Best Practices included in a recent Security Concerns of the Internet of Banking  Things the white paper talks about:

  • Securing in Layers
  • Changing passwords and installing updates
  • Thinking beyond the device
  • Remembering the basics
  • Regulatory compliance and accreditation processes


What you need to be aware of::

Chinese banks are hiring blockchain experts as the government pushes use of the technology behind bitcoin to increase transparency and combat fraud in its financial sector Blockchain technology is being heralded as a game changer

There are so many gaps in the banking systems, and it’s the banks’ innocent customers who pay the priceDavid Clarke, The Fraud Advisory Panel

Transfer fraud is one of the fastest-growing financial crimes, which can cost its victims hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the effects areoften life-changing for the victims.

  Real Estate

What you need to be aware of::

The pre-approval letter you receive may not mean you will get the loan. Mortgage lenders often give you a letter that is an indicator that you qualify for a loan but for a pre-approval to be concrete a much more strenuous process must be undertaken.  This should include an interview with the loan originator.

A buyer can be a victim of ID fraud,  If this occurs they will be left with a mortgage for a property they have no right to. To try and recover losses they have incurred they may try to do so through the relevant professionals that were involved in the transaction,

Property fraud is on the increase. It’s never been more important to make sure that you understand the tactics that fraudsters often employ, to prevent them from targeting you,


What you need to be aware of::

Scammers advertising phoney job opportunities on targeted employment websites that target vulnerable unemployed people.  Applications and recruitment can give the scammer access to personal details that may include bank accounts.

Who are you employing?  Do you really know that they have the credentials to perform the role they are applying for?  How do you ensure that your recruitment process mitigates risk to avoid costly mistakes?

This article is just the tip of the fraud iceberg with so most, if not all areas of our personal and business lives now being invaded by opportunists, scammers and fraudsters.

Be alert, vigilant and adopt and embrace ways you can preventative and mitigate fraud, both offline and online, to protect your personal and professional identity and integrity.

In Ausrralia report scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or call 1300 795 995.

Originally posted 2017-02-06 11:17:51.

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Digital Disruption: Is It Your Friend Or Foe?

Digital disruption has become an obsession for businesses and industries alike. It is an obsession that has the potential to overwhelm and dilute the underlying opportunities that a disruption itself presents.  Your business must choose if disruption is its friend or foe!

digital disruption
Digital Disruption: Friend or Foe?

A focus on being disrupted will overshadow the opportunity to disrupt.

10 indicators that your business may be REACTIVE

  1. High investment but declining revenue. This may suggest that you are chasing what you think will change the market without understanding what the market is actually looking for.
  2. High supply, lower demand. This may suggest that you are not aligned with what your customer wants even though you are competing with what is in the market.
  3. More service offerings but complaints from customers are on the rise.
  4. Higher staff churn than normal sees newer staff leaving your business while longer term staff are less likely to leave.
  5. Your industry is experiencing growth but your business is suffering a downturn.
  6. The technology platforms your business has adopted are disconnected from each other. This may indicate you are integrating new technology without recognizing how and where it will work with legacy systems.
  7. Your business is suffering from a progressive loss of market share.
  8. You notice a lack of cohesion in your product or service offerings.  They provide solutions but these are singular in application.
  9. Your business is generating lots of data but has no ability to qualify or contextualize it.
  10. Collaboration and partnering that exists is more of a ‘power play’ than an ‘innovation play’.

10 Indicators that your business is PROACTIVE

  1. Your business is experiencing exponential revenue growth and also enjoying increasing patronage despite more competition entering the market.
  2. Other businesses are seeking your business out to discuss collaboration and partnership opportunities.
  3. Your business is able to confidently make budget projections based on performance indicators measured against milestones.
  4. Agility enables your business to respond to change without impacting your core business strategy.
  5. You see failures as necessary and you are not afraid of them. They are seen as learning experiences your business can build on.
  6. Industry best practices, global trends and benchmarking are used by your business to give you insights to plan and strategize.
  7. Your employees are engaged, have taken ownership and actively participate in the business’ transformation journey.
  8. Your business communicates visibility and transparently without fear or favour.
  9. Digital is at the core of all your business decisions.  You always ask the question ‘How can digital make this more efficient or effective?’
  10. Your strategy is customer led. Your strategy is a living, breathing document that is a ‘work in progress’. It is responsive to change without compromising its core ethos.

Successful change will not happen when you apply band-aid solutions.  A band-aid solution is one dimensional and it only heals what ails the business in that area and at that time.

Transformational change is evolutionary.  When your business chooses to be proactive rather than reactive in its approach the word ‘disruption’ takes on a very different meaning.  To survive and also experience success you must choose to become the disruptor and not the disruptee.


Originally posted 2016-10-18 18:02:41.

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Walk A Mile in Your Customer’s Shoes

Your customer’s experiences determine if they will choose your business’ products or services or your competitors.

Doesn’t it make sense that you should look at how you position what you offer through your customer’s eyes?

A customer-led rather than a customer-centric strategy will see a significant increase in your customer conversions.

Walk in your customer’s shoes to better understand how to align your business with theirs.



Your customer’s lens may be focused on …


  • Is your business’ data secure?
  • What should I do to risk mitigate my business’ exposure to hackers?
  • How do I filter my data to protect my business and stakeholders?
  • What is recommended to ensure that my e-commerce shopfront is secure?


  • How can I mitigate risk as my business undergoes changes?
  • What steps do I take to measure risk in investment to grow my business or diversify into new business ventures?
  • How do I minimize the risk of redundancy in the skill set of my employees?
  • What do I do to limit my business’ exposure to disruption?


  • How do I structure my business to reduce cost and increase profitability without compromising my brand?
  • With industries becoming more competitive on pricing how do I maintain margins?
  • How do I ensure that my cash flow is consistent and growing?
  • With markets changing how do I position my business to not just maintain but grow market share?
  • How do I establish my brand without compromising on what I charge to engage with my product or services?


  • How do I change the way I do business to be more proactive and responsive?
  • What will agility do for my business that makes it important?
  • How can I compete with start-ups and online competitors when I am an established business?
  • How do I communicate to the people in our business that agility is important to gain consensus?


  • I am concerned that if we introduce too much change too fast we may derail what we do best now?
  • The business is not delivering the bottom line it should now so how can changing how we do things improve this?
  • The industry I am in is changing so fast how do I remain competitive?


  • My people know what they know and I am unsure if they are equipped to work in a digitally driven environment.
  • How do I know who are the people in my business that will lead change?
  • My people are loyal and want my business to succeed. Will this enthusiasm and motivation overcome any gaps in their abilities?
  • How do I educate my people when I don’t understand what I need to do?
  • When recruiting new people how do I and the right people for the right roles to align with where I have gaps in experience and ability?


  • The people in my business are mixed in their response to change in the business with the longer serving employees resistant to change. How do you change that without getting push back?
  • I have provided training for new processes and programs but a lot of my people default to doing things the way they always have. How do you overcome that?
  • Do I need to restructure the business and let the people go in the business that are resistant to change?
  • If I let the people go in the business that will not embrace the direction we are taking they will leave with an enormous amount of knowledge and experience in my business. How do I transfer that knowledge so it is not lost?


  • I have a lot going on in my business right now and I know I need to look at new opportunities and bodies of work but there are only so many hours in each day. Why should I prioritize digital transformation and how?
  • My people are already overworked and KPI’d on what is already on their plates. I can’t possibly ask them to do more without them pushing back.
  • How do I justify prioritizing changing my business model when we need to spend so much time running the business?
  • What is the best way to communicate the benefits of transforming my business to stakeholders to get buy in from the right people?


  • I want to introduce new products and services to scale my business but don’t know how?
  • Is scale about a geographic footprint or are we talking about introducing automation to scale the business and if so what does that mean and how much does that cost?
  • How do I scale my business without taking on enormous overheads that I cannot afford?
  • Why would I want to have the ability to scale when my business is profitable as it is now?
  • How do I communicate and market my business to scale quickly?


  • What steps do I take to better understand if my business is sustainable now?
  • How do I disrupt my business to set myself apart from my competitors and create longevity?
  • I don’t see how I can future proof my business so why would I invest in strategies that may be redundant due to the changing environment of the industry I work in?

The 10 reasons given in this blog are only scratching the surface.

The key to engaging customer’s to embark on a journey of digital change and transformation is to listen to what they have to say. If you take the time to listen to what your customers are saying you will hear the pain points they are trying to communicate.  This will enable you to propose approaches and solutions that will resonate with your customer and create an environment of trust and understanding.

When you make the effort to speak the same language as your customers, listen and empathize with their pain points and are able to take what you have learnt and interpret that contextually your ability to engage and convert your customers rises exponentially.




Originally posted 2016-08-22 08:57:12.

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People Make or Break Digital Transformation

Building a smarter business starts with your business’ employees. This is where digital transformation must begin. A sustainable business model must, at its foundation, ensure that the right people are aligned with the right roles.



The  digital maturity of the people that make up your business matters. This will determine your business’ success when your business is faced with change and disruption.

Traditional approach to employee alignment

  • Delegation
  • Training
  • Deployment
  • Secondment

Digital approach to employee alignment

  • Assessing digital maturity
  • Alignment of employees to the right roles and responsibilities

Contributors to successful employee alignment

  • How and what your employees communicate,
  • Your employee’s behaviour, approach and willingness to adapt and learn
  • When recruiting employ the right employees and ensure that they are aligned to the right roles and responsibilities.

This will make the real difference and have the biggest impact on success across the business.

Which employee types do you recognize?

The ‘Elastic’ Employee


  • They are flexible and as a result embrace new opportunities and projects
  • ‘Elastic’ employees always have their hands up to take on a new challenge and  lead new ventures.
  • They will ‘bend and stretch’ in many directions and they are almost always resilient
  • When you need to get something done ‘elastic’ employees are your ‘go to’ people
  • ‘Elastic’ employees get increasingly frustrated by ‘plastic’ and ‘jigsaw’ employees.
  • The need  of the ‘elastic’ employee to get things done can create friction in the workplace.
  • ‘Plastic’ and ‘jigsaw’ employee will push back  when the lead of the ‘elastic’ employee is seen as too demanding
  • Will become disenchanted if he/she does not have the emotional intelligence to lead the ‘plastic’ and ‘jigsaw’ employee to gain their trust and confidence.

The ’Plastic’ Employee

  • The ‘plastic’ employee has been moulded by the culture of the business.
  • They are dependable, consistent and you can trust them to follow the company line.
  • The ‘plastic’ employee is dedicated and rote in the way they conduct themselves.
  • They thrive in a consistent environment that follows processes and procedures to the letter.
  • The pros of the ‘plastic’ employee will likely become cons very quickly when the business is disrupted or embarks on a digital transformation journey.
  • The sturdy, dependable ‘plastic’ employee will therefore push back on initiatives if they require them to adopt new ways of doing things.
  • If the business has ‘plastic’ employees predominantly in senior management roles the business will consequently struggle to be nimble and agile.

The ‘Jigsaw’ Employee

  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee is trained by the business for the business.
  • This employee is usually a long time employee.
  • They are an employee that has been either trained by the company or one that has been in the industry all their working life.
  • This employee knows the way it has to be done and as a result does their job well.
  • The experience and competency they bring to the business is especially relevant.
  • They are dependable and their performance is consequently consistent.
  • When a ‘jigsaw’ employee is placed in the right role in the right business unit they are seen as team players.
  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee is usually liked and respected by their peers.
  • They are comfortable in their own skin and most of all are non-threatening.
  • When change is experienced in a business the ‘jigsaw’ employee will either be resistant or avoid it.
  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee in the same role in the same business division will not evolve because this will reinforce the behaviour you are trying to change.
  • If the ‘jigsaw’ employee feels that change will move the parameter of where they see their skill set and experience their performance will almost always decline.
  • A ‘jigsaw’ employee will quickly become the piece that does not fit when they are expected to do things that as a result will take them out of their comfort zone.
  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee that was once well liked, consistent and experienced, while still valuable, now seems like they are uncooperative.
  • They are also probably more likely to default to ‘doing things the way they have always been done’.
  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee would rather shy away from embracing new ways of achieving outcomes for the business when faced with change..

Invest in your employees first! Value and recognize their importance and relevance as the key to unlocking your business’ success in digital transformation.

Why people make or break digital transformation

  • Your employees are especially relevant as they are the lifeblood of your business and technology is the enabler.
  • If you do not transform your employees your digital transformation journey will almost certainly be flawed and may stall.
  • The secret is to identify your ‘elastic’, ‘plastic’ and ‘jigsaw’ employees as your first step in your digital transformation journey.
  • The next step is to recognize where they add value, where they don’t and how they can or can’t contribute to your changing business model.

Originally posted 2016-08-17 17:42:49.

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6 Indicators of Business Culture Shock

What are the clear indicators that your business is suffering from ‘culture shock’?

Change is constant and disruption inevitable in today’s business climate. You really should’t be surprised that, with the pace of change, it is almost certain that the employees in your business are more than likely to be suffering from some form of ‘culture shock’.

If you understand what the indicators of ‘culture shock’ are then you are better able to align your employees and give them the tools and skills they will need to engage and embrace change and innovation


6 Indicators Your Business is Suffering from Culture Shock

1/ Denial

Behaviours may include:-

  • Making excuses rather than embracing solutions to avoid change and doing things differently.  This is also commonly seen as ’employees choosing to believe that change comes and goes and will pass if you choose not to acknowledge it’
  • Avoiding discussing changes that may effect the status quo of their role or the business’ operations.
2/ Fear

Behaviours may include:-

  • Too busy doing the job to have time to consider other options that may be better for the business.
  • Employing or surrounding themselves with people like themselves to avoid confrontation and change in the way things are done.
3/ Ignorance

Behaviours may include:-

  • Default activity is always toward traditional process with no interest in new ways of doing things.
  • Lack of interest and engagement in educational and training activities that are offered or may be an opportunity for them to upskill.
4/ Defiance

Behaviours may include:-

  1. Opening disagreeing or questioning the validity of suggested initiatives because challenging an initiative suggests that the employee may stall or delay change.
  2. “This is the way we have always done business” is their ‘catch cry’ and they don’t want to be convinced that this should be changed. This can be due to either fear or denial.
5/ Acceptance

Behaviours may include:-

  • Compliant but passive in the implementation of change management initiatives.
  • Saying ‘yes’ without understanding why a task should be performed just because it is easier to agree.
  • The motivation for their behaviour is always to first and foremost protect their jobs as their top priority.
  • Believing that they can’t change or have any control of what is happening around them.
6/ Control

Behaviours may include:-

  • Talking with authority and knowledge on subject matter where they have not had any expertise.
  • Unwillingness to collaborate with others to make change happen.
  • Creating silos or teams that are isolated from the core business because they believe what they are doing is the right way to do things.

Developing your employees is always more important than developing your technology.  That is simply because the technology alone cannot transform your business.

Your employees will not engage because you train them to do a task.  Your employees will engage when they understand, embrace, take ownership and engage in the process of change.

You must first ask yourself how digitally mature are your employees?

What are their credentials to enable them to be capable to perform the tasks and roles that you are expecting them to?

Technology is the toolkit. It is your people who are the facilitators of  your business’ change and innovation.  Take the time to get to know what your employee’s digital capabilities and readiness is.



Originally posted 2016-05-07 11:25:09.

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