As it turns out – our strategy framework is built using our earlier “so that” strategy (i.e. purpose innovation) as the cornerstone – that is further augmented by three of its sister strategies - knitted together by PURPOSE in the middle balancing them using the “forces of attraction” -as outlined in the picture on the top of the page. Sounds too abstract, isn’t’ it? Well… as usual, we searched scriptures and few other sites for an appropriate metaphor to explain it – and the SALT metaphor fitted the bill this time, and so, salt is the emcee today for our additional inspiration.
Rightfully so, James Beard proclaimed - Where would we be without salt? - And, I couldn’t agree more. Without salt, our taste buds indeed will become senseless – and equally so, the seasoning of the food, as such, will also become meaningless! With that said, it is also fair to ask ourselves - while we all enjoy the seasoning flavor of salt in our foods- not sure, how many of us have paid a closer attention to some of its other remarkable usages!
With “Saltiness” as its core feature, salt exhibits itself in four different usage dimensions depending upon the way it is being used. First and foremost - salt is the primary ingredient of food seasoning as echoed by James Beard. In addition, as a preservative, salt prevents the decay & degradation of food –and as a disinfectant, it prevents the body parts from becoming septic (and even heals some ailments)-and, finally, it also acts as a thawing agent melting the ice on the roads, thus helping us in our busy morning commutes. I am sure- if we inventory some more, there will be few more ancillary usages as well.
Interestingly enough - our 10-box strategy model (http://strategywithapurpose.blogspot.com/2010/07/where-eagles-dare-strategies-dare.html)
aligns perfectly with this salt metaphor - and rightfully so, our strategy framework is a logical extension of the 10 box strategy model – that is further enhanced by “PURPOSE” in the middle balancing the four profit strategy dimensions – using nature’s “forces of attraction” principle -as listed below (and on the picture on the top of the page).
- Differentiation strategies (e.g. our “so that” strategy called purpose innovation) to help us to stand apart in the market place leveraging our strengths and core competencies - equivalent to the seasoning dimension of salt (Offensive growth strategy).
- Prevention strategies to overcome/hide weaknesses with one’s strengths (and thereby preventing the onslaught from competitors) – which is equivalent to disinfectant dimension of salt (Defensive strategy).
- Exploitation strategies to exploit competitor’s weaknesses – equivalent to the “Thawing Agent” dimension of salt (Offensive growth strategy).
- Mitigation strategies (i.e. risk mitigation strategies) to reduce one’s vulnerability our weaknesses – equivalent to the preservative dimension of salt (Defensive strategy).
This all-inclusive, well guarded strategy framework - not only helps us to go on the offensive, but also helps us to defend ourselves from the offensive onslaught of the competitors. Yet another insightful part of this framework is the way, PURPOSE manifests itself in four profit strategy dimensions within the context of its seasons - very similar to- how salt, with its core feature of SALTINESS (symbolizing purpose) manifests itself in four different usage dimensions within the context of its seasons. As it turns out, salt with its core feature of saltiness - manifests in four usage dimensions simultaneously, within the context of its seasons-symbolizing the need for us also to “execute both” offensive (differentiation and exploitation) and defensive (prevention and mitigation) strategies simultaneously, as advised by Inder Sidhu and Roger Martin.
At the same time, it is equally important to highlight couple of seasonality insights we had covered in one of our earlier posts – a) balancing opposites does not necessarily mean assigning equal weight and b) seasonality also has other dimensions(place, money, markets etc.),apart from the primary dimension of time (http://strategywithapurpose.blogspot.com/2010/10/within-eagles-fine-nest-strategy-is-at.html). With that said, it is important to highlight yet another important seasonality insight – that, even a simple misstep of executing a wrong strategy within a wrong season at times could also cost us fortunes – given the fact profits do not flow equally to all players in all seasons. This is one of the reasons, that we might be better of assigning more weight factor for defensive strategies (than offensive strategies) especially in those markets where our competitors are very strong (which perhaps is their forte). In other words, choosing the right strategy mix (with the right weight factor for the four strategy buckets within the context of its seasons) is both an art and science, as there is no silver bullet for thriving in this highly competitive, yet ever changing business environment of 21st century.
As we further observe the characteristics of our strategy framework within the context of this salt metaphor – salt with its saltiness, not only, just seasons the food, but also, serves other needs( disinfectant, preservative and a thawing agent) by renewing/maintaining (i.e. “not losing” to be precise) its SALTINESS. Speaking of salt "not losing" its saltiness – let us not forget the fact that – if salt loses its saltiness, it cannot be made salty again. In other words, saltiness is what makes salt to perform all of its usage functions, and so, if it loses its saltiness- it is worth nothing. Similarly, if our strategy, for some reason loses its purpose, it is very difficult to regain the confidence in the minds of our stakeholders , and so, it is important, that corporations pay a closer attention to the process of continuously renewing (or maintaining) our purpose – to keep the four dimensional holistic profit strategy cycle moving – very much like how saltiness is constantly renewed (maintained) to continue its four dimensional salt usage cycle moving- as summarized in the poem below.
Oh, Salt of the Earth… Aren’t you the Strategy of the business also? With your,
Seasoning strength, you source the sustaining secret -for differentiation,
Thawing tactics, you tweet the tooling technique -for exploitation,
Disinfecting defense, you draft the deviation detour- for prevention,
Preserving power, you plant the precautionary prescription -for mitigation, yet, by
Renewing your “saltiness (purpose)”, you improvise our innovative iteration,
Oh, Salt of the business…Without you where will we be?