I want to continue our discussion around strategy. Did you try the one sentence strategy game I wrote about in my last blog? If your experience was like mine (ours) at MindTree, I imagine it wasn’t easy. In our session with David Yoffie in Bangalore, he offered “Five Common Sense Rules to Successful Strategy,” which I thought I’d share and comment on:
1. Be Unique. As Warren Buffet once said, “me-too” strategies rarely work. I find this one to be the simplest rule, but perhaps the most difficult to overcome as CMO of an IT Services company. We play in a very saturated market and it is hard to position MindTree uniquely in the market.
2. Create Value. Throughout every step of its value chain-whether for a product or service-a Company needs to show or demonstrate value to their end customer. Value for customers needs to be felt everywhere: during a tech support call, in a retailer’s check-out line and in your warranty policy.
3. Communicate Value. As marketers, this job usually falls on us. How do we effectively communicate value creation in the face of intense competition (see point 1)? This is where we earn our pay check. Fancy presentations, glossy marketing collateral or sleek product packaging cannot hide service or product failures.
4. Be Bold and Take Risks. We are only certain in hindsight. Studying the business environment in which you play only limits risk, not eliminate it. To be a success in business, one needs to be daring, be bold, be different (Henry Merchant 1789). This flies in the face of the “me-too” approach in #1.
5. Become a Moving Target. Successful companies very rarely look the same 5, 10, 15 or 20 years later. More often than that, something fundamentally changes about the “what, where, when and how” of their products or services. How a company adjusts its strategy by taking risks will help keep you ahead (or if unsuccessful, behind) of the competition.