In This Issue

Kip Knight, President, Knight Vision Marketing. Making sound strategic plans and executing them is something we're all capable of doing if we put the appropriate amount of time and focus towards doing it right.   full article
The Recruiter Relations section of our newsletter offers ongoing tips to help you maximize your experience with a recruiter, regardless of whether you're seeking top talent to seamlessly join your team or searching for your next ideal position.
Candidate Tip #108  full article
On September 2, 1969 Dr. Leonard Kleinrock wrote about connecting a one node network to a Sigma 7 computer at UCLA...   have fun

Articles

A Common Sense Approach to Strategic Planning
by: Kip Knight, President, Knight Vision Marketing

Note: Kip is formerly the VP of Marketing at eBay. Additionally, he spent 10 years in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, and 12 years with PepsiCo, including serving as CMO at Taco Bell. Currently, Kip is affiliated with Decision Lens, helping companies make better decisions and optimize resource allocations. In this article he shares thoughts developed from his experiences at these great marketing companies.

It's fair to assume strategic planning for most business leaders is similar to planning to go to the dentist (i.e. they know it's important to do it but they are worried how much it's going to hurt). The term "strategic" is a power word often used to intimidate others - that's a real shame. Making sound strategic plans and executing them is something we're all capable of doing if we put the appropriate amount of time and focus towards doing it right.

To begin with, strategy is fundamentally about what you're going to do (and more importantly, what you're not going to do) to build your business. It's all about the choices you and your team are willing to make (and stick with) over time.

A strategic planning process often starts with a Mission Statement. Despite being the recurring topic of Dilbert cartoons, a great Mission Statement can actually help focus your team by answering a fundamental question too many businesses lose sight of: What business are we in and why?

Once you're agreed on your Mission Statement, your strategy work should focus on your business's overall Objective (i.e. how you going to define success over the next 3 years).

Goals are the means to translate your overall business objective into accountability for everyone on your team. These are the key metrics used to measure success in achieving your overall business objective.

Strategies are the collection of choices your team makes to create a sustainable advantage versus your competition. There are an infinite number of choices you can make...the key to success is that there are the very few choices you and your team should be committed to making for the long term. Those choices will determine the success or failure of your business.

Plans are directly linked to your strategies. They spell out what you're going to do over the next 12 months to make your strategies come to life. Too many executives spend a disproportionate amount of time developing strategies and not nearly enough on how they're going to be executed. Give me a brilliant execution of an average strategy any day versus a lousy execution of a brilliant strategy! The rewards of a well crafted strategy brilliantly executed are reflected in outstanding financial results.

A great strategy should be well known by everyone on your team (without having to refer to a thick PowerPoint) as well as your customers (who will see the execution of your strategy on a daily basis).

Another issue you don't need to worry about is changing your strategy very often. I've often compared changing a business strategy with amending the Constitution of the United States - it should only be done after careful thought and deliberation.

The Tide brand at P&G has been using the same advertising strategy for the past 50 years and has maintained category leadership the entire time. Brands that change their strategies frequently aren't going to last very long or be very effective since they end up confusing everyone associated with the business.

When I think of some of the brands I admire, such as Apple, Nike, Prius, Southwest and Whole Foods, a common theme that's apparent is they've made and stuck with key strategic choices over time that's given them a distinct advantage over their competition.

Consider businesses and brands that have failed (such as Pontiac and Buick). How much of their failure was due to the inability to answer such fundamental questions such as:

  • How did they define success over a 3-year time frame?
  • What were the key metrics used to measure success?
  • What strategic choices did they make to create a sustainable advantage over their competition?
  • What did they do over a 12-month period to make their plans a reality?

If you and your team can answer these questions clearly and confidently, congratulations: your odds of success for your brand just went way up. If not, I hope these questions will spur you and your team to develop your own answers with your team to build your business.

Candidates and Hiring Managers: Maximize Your Experience with Recruiters

Our highest priority at STRe Solutions is building long-term relationships with both candidates and hiring managers. The Recruiter Relations section of our newsletter offers ongoing tips to help you maximize your experience with a recruiter, regardless of whether you're seeking top talent to seamlessly join your team or searching for your next ideal position.

Candidate Tip #108

Putting Your Best Foot Forward. Preparation is the key and it starts when you pick up the phone to call a contact, send an email or respond to a job posting. Research the company, its products, financial status, key executives, and anything else you can find. Being knowledgeable will enable you to ask the right questions and let the prospective employer know that you care about them and their business. The fact that you want to work there is secondary.

There's an expression: WFM...What's in it for me? Think about what is in it for the company or hiring manager. Why should they be interested in you? What are you going to do for them? How will you help move their business forward? Then, and only then, can you consider 'what's in it for you.'

While you may be tempted to tell the hiring manager how great you are and recite some of your accomplishments, think about why they should be interested. If you understand the company's business you can draw on your past accomplishments to highlight how you can deliver those same results to solve issues they may have, or ways in which you can help meet their objectives.

And.. listen carefully, take good notes and then you can send a thank you note (or email) that either reinforces what you told them during the interview or adds to how you can help them in their business.

Remember, you represent your company's brand. So you have a new requisition and as a manager you have a lot on your plate and you want this position filled quickly. At each step of the recruitment process, you are showcasing your company and are an extension of the brand. "A" players are always hard to attract, so it is always important to put your best foot forward, even in today's candidate rich market.

Communication and honesty will go a long way. Think about the mission of your company and what it stands for, and how you will convey that to potential new employees. Be courteous and provide clear information in a timely manner. In most cases you will start with the job description and share that with your recruiter (either internal or an external resource). Let the recruiter know what your key criteria will be and how to assess potential candidates. Once you have selected candidates to interview, be sure that interview schedules are adhered to, and there are no surprises. Don't change interview schedules at the last minute, or worse yet, forget to make the call for a scheduled phone interview. The candidate will remember how your company treated him or her. Throughout the hiring process, keep an open line of communication with the candidates, either directly or through your recruiting partner.

And.. finally when the search is completed, let the candidates who did not make it know that you appreciated their time and the search is now closed.

STRe Fun --- The Internet Turns 40

On September 2, 1969 Dr. Leonard Kleinrock wrote about connecting a one node network to a Sigma 7 computer at UCLA. That was called ARPAnet. What began as an information exchange between computer scientists has now become the backbone of modern communications for business and personal use.

Today, there are over 1.6 billion Internet users and over 220 million websites. It is hard to imagine life without the Internet!

For more stories on the Internet's 40th birthday click below: