There are many 'plans' that seek to help manage a business. The business
plan, the strategic
plan, the project management
plan, etc. All tools to that use different techniques to answer the three fundamental questions:
- Who am I ? and Where am I today ?
- Where am I going ?
- How am I going to get there ?
I got tired of over-used business plans that nobody reads. Tired of marketing plans based on wishful thinking. Tired of task-based project management plans that narrow-mindedly didn't take into account the company's vision. Tired of strategic plans done during plush retreats with a select few that were disconnected with their corporate reality.
Throughout my career, I have looked to integrate those 'plans' into one comprehensible, integrated, 1-page model. It's an ambitious idea : develop a model to unite all models
. Particularly, I focus on the inter-relationships between the different parts of the model. How does one part of a plan affect the others ?
After years of research and vulgarising exercises, I give you the (continually developed) Integrated Strategy Model (ISM)
. This model has been tried and tested with many client cases, refined through my experience. I have extensively documented the description, the process and the how-to of each box as well as the reasoning behind each link.
It will be updated and tweaked. The current state is :
Version : 1.0
Released : August 2012
Enjoy it, use it at will, discuss it with me, and contact me
if you would like help to apply it to your business.
I have been blessed with the joy of being able to choose many of the projects I have been involved with. My project-selection criteria hasn't always been the best.
Early in my career, technology was my main motivation. In one project, I had built the best mousetrap in a world where there were very few mice to catch. Oh, so the market need is important !
Over the course of the many ups and downs in my entrepreneurial life, I was able to refine said criteria. This graph that I found floating on the Internet sea best describes it. (click to enlarge)
It's not always possible to find the 'Bliss' sweet spot (OK, truth be told, it's very rare), but it's something I consistently aim for. And if I can't have 'Bliss', at least I know where I am and why I am doing it.
Thank you Steve for putting words to my thoughts.
When a doe-eyed entrepreneur comes to see me for advice, I tell them 4 things:
- You will NOT be your own boss
- You will be stretched to your financial, emotional, psychological, physical and sometimes spiritual limits
- You will most likely fail
- You will attain levels of personal satisfaction you have never dreamed of
If they're still standing, we go into their idea and business model. It's so important for me for future entrepreneurs to understand the difficulties that lie ahead. I didn't know them 13 years ago and I wished I did. I most probably would have taken the same decisions, but I would have been less naive about it all.
This video, from GetOnTheRollercoaster.com
, amazingly describes what I've been through... 3 times.
I have never hidden the fact that I am a geek, a dork or a nerd. I embrace that side of myself quite happily. I subscribe to and demonstrate most stereotypes associated with these 'special' people without issue. The geeks, the dorks and the nerds are my people.
I also teach to (and see business plans from) a bunch of nerds who want to become internet billionaires: 'This is the next Facebook, Google, Twitter' has become all to frequent. As a side effect to this, the 'social-media-anything-is-possible' craze has somewhat redefined the geek persona and lowered the barrier to entry into Geekdom.
That is why this new video from the Pantless Knights is so accurate, well written and à propos.
Geekdom, enjoy. This is the new us.
My friend Reg Athwal
, a world reknown expert on Human Resources, posted this story which I think demonstrates the power of perspective. It's something that struck me in the last year that I needed, and something I think all entrepreneurs who get sucked into their businesses need more of.One day, a very rich man decided to teach his son about life, and took him on a trip to a very poor village and they spent a couple of days with a very poor family. When they returned home, the father asked his son:
- Did you like our trip?- Yes dad. - Did you see how these people live?
- Yes dad. - Tell me then, what did you learn from this trip? The son replied:
- I saw that we've got 2 dogs, they've got 4. We have a pool in the middle of the garden, they have a huge lake. We've got imported lamps for the patio, they have the stars. We live on a small lot, they live on a big farm surrounded by meadows. We have maids to serve us, they help each other with everything. We buy our food, they grow it. We have a wall surrounding our house to protect us, they have friends to rely on. The father was speechless.
And the son added:- Thank you for showing me how much we still lack daddy!!
From TED comes this video about leadership and it's brilliant parallel with conducting an orchestra. From the youtube description 'An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.'
It runs the gamut of leadership styles and how they all can be seen in conducting orchestras. The video also makes us question our own leadership style:
- Does leading necessarily require control ?
- Do we tell our own stories or help others tell their story ? Can others develop their skill under our leadership or can they just apply it ?
- Is there a purpose in our leadership or is it a technique we are applying ?
- Can we create the processes and the structure to allow others feel and be free to express themselves ?
... And what I believe is the most important question :
Are we having fun ?
When Guy Laliberté, founder of the Cirque Du Soleil, met with the remaining Beatles to pitch the concept of 'Love' - a show that would integrate their songs in a most creative format - he used only three words. After years of trying to get his idea through, now sitting in front of them, he had the chance of the lifetime to convince them. The normal reaction would have been to elaborate fantastic concepts to wow
The Beatles. But he just used three words that were powerful enough to move them:Let's have fun.The Fun Theory
is a web site that tries to get ordinary people change habits by making the alternative habit a fun one. Here is an example of getting people to use the stairs instead of the escalator.
Fun. It's the unique value proposition.
This video beautifully describes the reason why I believe Entrepreneurship to be one of the greatest career vocations one can aspire to. Quite simply: they can change the world.
Every once in a while, I come across a video that makes me say: 'wow, that's so true' and 'where were you all my life?'.
This is one of those.
I've been on the receiving side of these discussions for years when I had an agency and an IT service company. One of the hardest things I had to learn as an entrepreneur was not to renegotiate in these situations. Since I'm a 'nice guy' who believes the best in people and that a handshake is more binding than a contract, well, I got chewed the wool off my back more than once.
But I sleep better at night believing the best and not always supposing the worst. I've just become 'cautiously optimistic'.
This video flies in the face of the notion that 'the client is always right'. He's not... but he does need to be educated sometimes.