Tag Archives: 7 Elements of Strategy

Liz Strauss @ #SMTulsa

20 Mar

I had the extreme honor and pleasure of live plussing the 2012 Social Media Tulsa Conference last week! I will be posting the summary of my notes and live plusses here and on my personal Google+ page. First in the series is the opening keynote!

Liz Strauss works with corporations and entrepreneurs to create, identify and leverage unique, real-time opportunity. She is a strategist, the CEO and founder of SOBCon, author of the popular Successful-Blog.com, a keynote speaker, and a storyteller. She was the keynote speaker at Social Media Tulsa 2012 Conference. I live plussed her talk on my personal Google+ account. This is the summary of her talk from those notes. I wasn’t able to find a SlideShare of her talk.

Liz had flown into Tulsa directly from Austin where she spoke at SXSW Interactive. She is obviously a real workhorse because she had lost her voice in Austin and had to give her whole talk in a whisper.

Liz started her talk by asking people in the audience “What is the best thing that ever happened to you personally or to your business?” Answers ranged from being born to good parents, to having a daughter born with a disability that inspired a home business, to rescuing abused animals, to quitting a job. A funny point was when Liz sat in a gentleman’s lap and asked “What is the best thing to ever happen to you, besides me sitting on your lap?” Alas, I did not get a picture of it!

Liz then transitioned to the meat-n-potatoes part of her talk…

7 Elements of Strategy

First, Liz defined strategy as a realistic system to advance achievements over time by leveraging opportunity. She emphasized that it’s a living, changing thing that is being implemented and modified constantly.

The 7 elements are nonlinear, but if we had to put them in a list it would be…

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Position
  • Conditions
  • Decisions
  • Networks
  • Systems

Vision and mission are not the same thing, but it’s easier to talk about them together. You have to have a vision to have a mission. Vision is destination. It’s the answer to questions like “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or “Where do you want to go?” It’s choosing a future so you can make it happen. Your vision is tied up in your identity and values. When you have a clear identity and vision you are easy to remember and share.

Mission is a calling and a commitment to that calling. It’s the answer to questions like “Why?” and “How?” Knowing where you’re going is irresistibly attractive. Work is work, but a quest is valiant and noble. JFK’s vision was a space program better than the Soviet’s. His mission was to put a man on the moon and safely return him back to earth. This was a bigger vision and mission than he could accomplish on his own, but people will naturally follow whoever is moving with vision on a focused mission.

Position is your unique playing field. Every position is a unique opportunity. Opportunities are all around us–we just don’t necessarily see them. You have to know your position so you know how to proceed. Find out if you’re on a mountain or by the river before you buy a boat!

Position is a lot of quantitative information. Everything from property, expertise, packaging, and communication to competence, competition, size, and systems. Don’t say “I know this stuff already.” Make yourself articulate it! Questions that help you understand your position sound like identity questions. Are you an individual or a company, new or experienced, guide or teacher?

Position is also qualitative relationships. It’s your goals, values, dreams, passion, and people who help the business thrive. Values attract ideal partners, customers, employees, and opportunities.

Quantitative and qualitative positions together are the value proposition. Apparently Liz has another talk entitled “Putting the Values Back Into the Value Proposition”.

As a side note to position, Liz states that most people spend too much time thinking about their competition. The truth is that there so many differences between people (and their missions, values, positions) and each difference creates another opportunity. So, there are more than enough opportunities for everyone!

Conditions are changing opportunities. Conditions include things like cycles, trends, the spread of an idea or technology. You can turn those into opportunities by not swinging with the pendulum. Zag when the world zigs! Fill the vacuum!

Decisions is the act of eliminating any other option. It’s a moment of truth. You are now committed completely to this one choice. Sometimes we shy away from committing fully to something because we’re afraid it will be permanent. It’s not. Your path will find you if you just step out decisively.

My notes on Networks and Systems ran together. If it’s confusing, it’s my fault and not Liz’s and you should contact her.

Deeply connected networks attract fiercely loyal fans. Well-thought systems keep people coming back. We think that people that think like us are smart. And people who don’t must be stupid or difficult, right?! Be mission critical to other folks missions. Start with people who love you now. The more you can put your values out and stand by them the more you will draw similar people to you. Be sure to celebrate your heroes–they are the best examples of your values. Narrow niches offer wider opportunities. Liz says that the internet has obliterated geographic niches and there are now only expertise niches.

If you’re a consultant and looking for your first client people tell you not to lower your price. What they’re saying is that people who share your values will value you and your work like you do and pay your price. If not, they ask you to lower your price. They have to be converted. They don’t usually stay converted.

Raise a barn. Don’t build a coliseum. Ask the best to help build what they need. Use systems to make building easier, faster, and more meaningful. If they build it… they will bring their friends.

 

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