by Rich Edwards Dec 16, 2021

What we're reading - 12/17/21 Edition

Putting a Spine in Your Strategy, and Treating Your Customers Like They Have a Pulse

Ken Jeong knows what's up

2 articles to dig into this week for our year ending post, improving how you communicate your strategy, and a lesson in what not to do in customer retention.

1. Put a Spine in Your Strategy

Taking inspiration from Amazon’s management tools of writing the press release at the beginning of product planning, Columbia Business School and noted author Rita McGrath proposes a framework for executives to more clearly (and with rigor) articulate their strategy.

It’s a dirty little secret: Most executives cannot articulate the objective, scope, and advantage of their business in a simple statement. If they can’t, neither can anyone else… I’m going to describe a document that you can think of as a bridge between your strategy and the seemingly endless communications you need to make to get various stakeholders comfortable with backing it. I call it a “strategy spine” as it describes how the strategy translates into specific flows of resources. Much as your own spine serves to tie together many different parts of your body to create capability for movement, a strategy spine shows key stakeholders exactly how all the pieces fit.

McGrath's Strategy Spine (downloadable template in the link above)

2. ‘Dear Steve, We’re Sorry You’re Dead’ (But I’m Not Dead!)

Steve Cocheo, Executive Editor at The Financial Brand, shares a cautionary story of what started with a legacy of great care he received from his credit union

…a day or two later, a member of the credit union’s volunteer board (it had 1.5 employees) came by my mother’s desk. He told her he was personally going to bring the loan back up to the credit committee because he thought the decision was wrong.

“We’re a credit union, not a bank,” he said. “We’re here to help members get credit when they need it. We help each other.”

That meant a lot to me and sold me on the credit union concept for years.

This feeling, however, decayed overtime as his credit union increasingly became less and less personal and attentive, including at one point mistakenly thinking he had died.

It was then I began to realize that the credit union I had such loyalty to was long gone. These people didn’t really know who I was nor what I had going on at their credit union.

That’s it for this week, and for the rest of 2021. Have a great holiday and New Year. Comments and suggestions as always to

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