Preface: Strategy implementation is the differentiation
I was in the meeting room of a local enterprise waiting to meet with the Chief Executive Officer. To get a feel for the company, I read the Mission and Vision Statements posted on the wall. Below these, in bold print, was a slogan-like statement:
Strategy Implementation is the Differentiation.
The CEO arrived, and after exchanging pleasantries, I asked him about the statement, which seemed like an exhortation to his staff.
He explained his approach. "We are a small player in the market," he said, "and I will not expend resources to engage in sophisticated strategy formulations. We adopt a simple strategy, which is not vastly different from what most in this business do. We all adopt more or less the same strategies. Furthermore, product and pricing differentiations diminish over time. So how do we compete, except to do the right things right and do them better?"
To illustrate this, he sketched this diagram of an iceberg on the whiteboard.
I asked him why he had underlined the last bullet point.
"A management system will hold together the other three critical success factors for our company," he explained. "Corporate values may seem to be airy-fairy public relations stuff, but if people can really see the real import of living and breathing life into these values, they will find that they actually bond people, and they are indeed the ...