In a recent Soundview Author Insight interview with Steve Van Remortel, we asked the consultant and best-selling author of Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream about the critical bridge between theory and tactics as it applies to strategy. Van Remortel responded with the following:
Ask the department leader. “How is our company differentiating ourselves and what is your department’s role in it?” If you get a real crisp clean response, that person and his department are tied into the strategy. If you get kind of a deer-in-the-headlights look, that tells you that the strategy discussions are being held in a room within the C-suite or that they are in the head of the owner or the business leader. One of the core principles within strategy implementation is department planning, and department planning is about getting a majority of the organization working on the business versus in the business. Most organizations probably work in the business. One or two people may spend 5% of their day or their week or their month working on the business.
What department planning does is it takes all the strategy that all the action plans that come out of the strategic planning process and puts them in the appropriate department plan for execution to work on the business. For example as marketing is updating the website, sales is updating its tools and operations is implementing lean. You have all these departments and these individual people within those departments checking things off the business action plans, and all of the sudden there’s 15 action plans that got done in the last month by working on the business. You see the organization just accelerating and taking off.
Author and entrepreneur Steve Van Remortel asks one of the more profound questions executives need to answer: Are you spending more time working “in” your business or working “on” your business? If you’re like most individuals, the constant strain of the business cycle is preventing you from doing the big-picture strategic work that can alter the course of your company’s future. In Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream, Van Remortel provides a process to help you assess why a customer will choose your business over a competitor. The secrets of the “Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream Process” are now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.
Van Remortel takes a unique approach to building your business. Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream forces executives to devote equal time to the development of strategy and talent and the improvements must be made concurrently. The interplay between these two vital aspects of your business is a factor in each phase of Van Remortel’s four-phase process.
Executives may find phase two (“Building the Team and Strategy Development Preparation”) to be the biggest eye-opener. In this section, Van Remortel argues that, despite a leadership team’s agreement on strategy, efforts at implementation can be destroyed by a common set of problems. These issues include a multiple goals masquerading as a single vision and an environment in which day-to-day thinking blots out a management team’s collective calendar. Van Remortel directs executives to conduct a series of analyses that will clear the haze and force leaders to find and execute a strategy for true differentiation.