Two professional sports teams offer lessons in strategic thinking and action.
The Detroit Lions went 0-16 last season. They are changing the logo on their uniforms this coming season to display a more aggressive Lion.
The Chicago Blackhawks were mired deep in the standings for years and attendance was suffering. Owner Bill Wirtz would not allow a team game to be broadcast on television unless the seats were sold out in advance. The less exposure the team had, the worse attendance became and the more blase and negative potential fans became about the team. Fewer kids in the area took up hockey as a sport.
In the case of the Lions, changing the uniforms has the feel of the captain changing the position of the deck chairs on the Titanic when he should be concerned about the iceberg the ship has just collided with. Yet changing the logo as part of an entire make-over of the team and franchise can indeed be recognition of a new paradigm for the Lions and a different organization and brighter future.
In the case of the Blackhawks, the narrow view of the long-time owner, who refused to recognize that television drove exposure, interest, allegiance and attendance, was sinking the team. After Mr. Wirtz died, his son quickly hired the former marketing chief for the Chicago Cubs and put Blackhawks games on television in the Chicago area. In very short order the young team and a new coach stepped up in the changed circumstances, the buzz about the team changed to positive and attendance soared, setting league records. The team made the play-offs for their first time in years.
When you are mired in a rut and things are going poorly, you have to face reality, address any wrongheaded fundamental assumptions the organization might be making and change.
When change is called for, be sure it is strategic and not superficial. The marketplace will quickly sort out if change is for real and fundamental, or just changing a logo and nothing else.
If you do commit to change the things that are the real barriers to being more successful, the turn-about can be quicker than you might hope.
A recent study by Dr. Dan Geller found that micro companies, including startups, entrepreneurs and businesses with 25 or fewer employees, are at a greater risk of failure simply because they have a much lower rate of strategic planning than larger companies.
Strategic Planning Focus of the Week: Strategic Assets Lead to Strengths It’s important to take the organization’s assets and strengths into account and to build on them in the visioning process.
From a strategic planning perspective:
An organizational strength is an internal attribute of the organization that contributes to achieving the vision.
An organizational strategic asset is a resource available to the organization from which a strength can be derived.
An asset is latent. It becomes the basis of a strength only when it is employed as part of the strategic vision.
For example, a wood lot could be strength or not. As a piece of land it incurs taxes, has the risk of fire, there are costs maintain it and possible zoning challenges to worry about. It is a strength when employed in a strategic vision as a source of lumber, Christmas trees, or as a set-aside to be purchased by local government. Or consider a truck. If it sits, it still incurs costs of licensing and requires space. It becomes a strength when used to deliver goods.
Determine the organization’s strengths and ask, to what compelling possibilities do they lead?
Strategic Vision of the Week Ice Energy: "A cleaner, smarter, more sustainable power grid."
Strategic Planning Quote of the Week “No amount of sophistication is going to allay the fact that all your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future.” – Ian E. Wilson
Our vision is every organization creates a plan with strategies and action steps leading to greater success.
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Don't delay! Without a strategic vision and a plan to get there, your future is not as bright as it can be.