What are the elements in a truly Joined-up Strategy?
"Hey Jonny, here's a Dopey Idea"
Jonathan Ive was almost unheard of until a few years ago. Some of you may still be asking "who is Jonathan Ive?" Well, every day 200 million of us use the products he designed. On 19th October 2011 he shared the stage with others in one of the most inspiring events of Corporate leadership ever, the day that Apple employees said goodbye to Steve Jobs.
What Jonny shared that day is insight into the remarkable relationship between himself and Steve. But what he was really sharing was the process of creation. His core message was the frailty of a freshly formed idea, so easily "squished" to use Ive's native English vocabulary. He emphasized that to create something (in the case of Apple, several insanely great products) you need Dopey Ideas, sometimes truly terrible ideas as well. That to deliver something new requires not only great insight, but also the perseverance to focus on the little things.
His highest praise for Steve Jobs was for “Givin’ a Damn" because, in the end, even things that are hidden from the human eye do make a difference.
Most businesses don’t have the scale or vision of a Steve Jobs or a Jonny Ive. But Apple's brilliance is less about amazing technology but more an entire business design. They focus on the 100% solution. They changed the music industry; they designed distribution channels, supply chain organization and brand marketing.
In the process Apple achieved a remarkable triple.
1. It has become one of the strongest Global brands in the world
2. It employs some of the best and most passionate technical and business people in the world who clearly do care
3. And it just happens to have more cash in the bank now than the entire United States Government.
These three facets are not just coincidence. They are a result of the ultimate “Joined Up Strategy”. And it didn’t start by saying “Hey, lets make $80 Billion”
Just as Ive describes the creative process at the top of Apple, we can see that it also applied to the Apple strategy process too.
It will have required plenty of dopey ideas and several terrible ones as well. But it would have allowed the ideas time to build into something worth persevering with. This wasn’t Steve Jobs, this was a team. It was a team, working on a 100% solution. And the Strategy was Joined-Up.
Have you got a Joined-up strategy?
By joined-up, it means recognizing that you will achieve financial results as a result of building other parts first. If you have a great product or service, remember that you also need to clearly and explicitly describe your values, because together this creates your customers perception of you, your “Brand”. Your values also, together with your business model (how you deliver your great product or service) directly effects how your people behave. And if you have the right customer proposition and the right business model - then and only then will you achieve the best possible financial result.
This is true for the smallest business right up to the Global giants.
A great Joined-Up Strategy is created in the same way an iPhone or an iPad is created. It starts with ideas, precious, frail ideas – all too easily squished. There is compromise, but not to the ultimate goal. There is perseverance and ultimately focus on the finer details. And there is care, passion, belief, elegance, excitement and ultimately “Givin’ a Damn”.
A Joined-Up Strategy starts with leadership and an alignment of the top team to achieve an ambitious or challenging goal.
Is your top team aligned? Do they really share an ambitious and challenging goal? Do they truly give a Damn? Or are they just focused on their own little silo?