The Leadership Law that Rules Them All
NEW BOOK GIVEAWAY!!
20 copies available!!
Leave a comment on this guest post by Brad Chase to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of his new book, Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big.
(Deadline for eligibility is 6/20/2020. International winners will receive electronic versions.)
John Maxwell has his 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Leadership Freak has shared many articles with leadership decrees, such as The 10 Laws of Trust, and The Law of the Skunk.
But there is one leadership law that rules them all:
No leader succeeds without a great strategy.
Great leadership requires judgment, good values, trust, and considerably more. But none of that matters if you don’t have a plan to compete, a strategy to win. Strategy is the anatomy of business success.
For most companies, their strategy has one fundamental bet. DocuSign is betting on e-signatures, Apple on devices. If you make the right bet, you must still do many other things well to win. If you make the wrong bet, it doesn’t matter how well you execute—your business will fail, and you will fail as a leader.
E x mc²:
How do you decide what strategy to employ, what bet to place? To help figure that out, I created the Strategy First model. It’s an acronym for the three key components of strategy and a twist on Einstein’s famous E=mc² equation: Strategy = E × mc².
The “c” is squared because it represents generally the most important strategy element: customer value. The “m” is for market (profit) potential. The “E” is for execution, how you run your business every day. To assess your strategy, measure these variables relative to your competition.
Strategy is dynamic.
Great leaders adjust their strategy as they learn and conditions change. Netflix first bet that users were frustrated with DVD late fees, then bet on streaming and then bet on original content. Refresh your strategy when needed.
Without a first-class plan, you can’t be a first-class leader.
Strategy comes first. Remember the first law of leadership: No leader succeeds without a great strategy.
How is strategy, or lack of strategy, impacting your business? Leadership?
Brad Chase is the author of Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big and a veteran strategy, leadership, and marketing consultant to CEOs and senior executives. He spent fourteen years at Microsoft leading businesses, including MSN and Windows marketing, and finished his tenure as a Senior Vice President and Executive Officer.
This seems the key to me and all I do: Refresh your strategy when needed.
Love the equation
Book looks exciting and like the idea of Strategy = E x mc squared.
Strategy input from everyone helps engagement too! I hate being told what to do, so I always like to create a psychologically safe environment and listen to everyone. Sure, we do not always agree and once the strategy is set, it is set. However, even a set strategy can be agile with a clever and well supported team. On my own, MY strategy is just a good plan. As a team, OUR strategy is a shared vision, an inspiring goal.
I’m ready to win big! Now! ❤️
Thank you for your consideration and offer for sharing a free copy of your book! I would be most appreciative as I work with strategic decisions daily, and look to this insight for better techniques and considerations. (fingers crossed 🙂 )
Strategy is core to everything, otherwise you’re just running around making noise, hoping to achieve something.
Fully agree. Leadership is about influence. You need a compelling vision, a strategy that your team wants to follow…But to translate this to something real, you need a target market that will be delighted with what your offering and a profit pool. I love that the formula is so relatable and so current in a dynamic world where business models have totally been transformed by digitization and the customer experience/preferences.
When you set yourself up to win, you win!
So very true… especially in very challenging times.
Love the equation and the concepts discussed.
A war fought without a strategy is a war lost before it begins. We are in combat each and every day against a variety of foes. If we do not have a strategy before we start we are destined to lose the battles and ultimately the war.
Given the current pandemic and the swift ever changing direction, leaders must be ready to change strategies on a dime. Timing for this book is perfect
Strategy is huge! Leaders must set aside quiet time to think strategically.
When I talk to new hires, interviewees and interviewers, I stress that leading a business, category or area begins with a strategy and strategies should evolve as new information is gathered. It is just like going on a road trip…you will not know how to get to your destination without a destination which then leads to directions.
I would enjoy reading this book. I hope I receive a copy.
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Yes, strategy is important. Wouldn’t you agree that tenacity and attention to continuing improvement is also important?
To be successful we need to evolve. Never give in to occasional “failures”. We should learn from them and move on. Flexibility is a great tool for and business plan.
I’ll look forward to reading this. Always appreciate new sources on strategy development. I wonder how the equation might apply to nonprofit strategy, where market potential and benchmarking against “competition” are different?
I’m really good at executing strategies…I want to get better at developing them. This book is exactly what I need!
Many organizations have had great strategies but failed to execute in them. Agility and engagement in execution is the key to success.
Thanks Bill. We are beginning some interviews tomorrow so the sooner he can get his application in the system and screened by “HR/Recruiting” the better
Have a great day
Sent from my iPhone
There are different levels of strategies; taking the Apple example, yes devices are important to them but with the right strategy for iOS and their other operating systems, and, of course, the execution skills, the devices are neither here nor there.
Strategy is key. You have to offer something of value to the customer and deliver it in such a way that they have a good experience so they will feel good about buying more and/or telling other people.
Keep up the good work
So true, we can have our why and our what, but without the how we can not get far.
Great read. Strategy is essential, but more important than simply having a strategy is aligning your work with the strategy. I’ve seen many leaders and companies struggle because their work isn’t aligned with strategy. Act with a purpose, otherwise you’re constantly running around putting out fires with no end goal in sight.
Very interesting and thought provoking. I loved the practical exame of NETFLIX.
Strategy needs to be simple and coherent for others to follow.
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Thanks for the article. We’re still closed due to COVID-19, but constantly looking at similar businesses around the world for cues on new best practices, taking into account our specific audience. We quickly realized we need multiple strategies to be successful when reopening; the first one being how to we make our employees feel comfortable to return to work. From there, we hope to build on our customer strategy. Bringing the employees into that decision making process is going to be important since they’ll be front and center. These strategies are almost solely based on dealing with peoples emotions, focusing strictly on comfort and safety, something that is difficult to calculate. The hard facts strategy are the though ones to face; how much do we need to be profitable. Numbers can be fudged, but they don’t lie. In the end, you have to get all the different strategies working together holistically. I wish it was as simple as hoping people will get fed up with paying late fee’s for overdue videos or a simple formula. We’ll get there though.
I’m in the throes of trying to learn a brand new job and identify / develop my new organization’s strategy moving forward. We just received a slew of customer satisfaction survey data – which I’ve shared in it’s raw glory with my team – and I’m setting up a strategic offsite so we can, collaboratively, work through this ‘gift of feedback’, decide ‘who we want to be in the future’ and map out what needs to happen so we can get ‘there’. Lots of hard work, for sure…but I think we’ll be in a much better place afterwards. Baby steps…
In non-profit land where I work, strategy is just as important as in profit-land, but it has nuances that are significant. Our customers are the clients we serve, but are also the donors who give, and the government departments that fund. These customer groups have totally different needs they want met, and they see value differently. Our market potential is not tied to the notion of selling more units, rather it’s about convincing funders – individual donors, corporations, foundations, and government – that what we do is worthy of their support. Our competition can be, unfortunately, other non-profits who compete with us for the same donation/funding dollar, and are often partners in the community. It makes for delicate dance. All that to say, strategy is important, but we might to look at the formula differently depending on who our customers are, how we define our market, and the “what” of our value proposition.
If having a strategy is the first rule, then learning how to share it and get buy in from everyone is the second! You need to have everyone on the same page and able to see the vision otherwise it’s just words!
How do you create the strategy and get the buy-in to implement it for success?
Thank you for your thought-provoking post, Dan. We’ve all recognized that strategy is important, but perhaps not as paramount as you’ve suggested. “Without a first-class plan, you can’t be a first-class leader.” You added that, “No leader succeeds without a great strategy” — the difference between simply surviving and thriving! I’m intrigued by the E x mcc model that integrates customer value, monetization, and execution. Looking forward to a great read. All the best.
Being an old science teacher, I love the E=MC2 strategy acronym!
Refreshing that this book aims at bringing the attention back to strategy. Most writers these days are writing in peripheries and not aiming at the core. I would like to read this book. Really look forward to see how the formula Strategy = E x mc square has been explained. Best of luck.
Absolutely true and something I don’t consider nearly often enough!
I love the line, “Great leaders adjust their strategy as they learn and conditions change”. So true,
They also anticipate and create market opportunity and they know how to allocate resources to create strategic agility to capture these opportunities.
Determining the market potential (m), hence deriving Strategy (S), is still a hypothesis at best, like you say, a ‘bet’. How do we then increase the odds for a sure win?
Have to get this book. I am in the process of participating in two strategic planning processes–one for work, and one for a Board I sit on. This looks like a great read!
Great post to remind me to put energy toward the strategy rather than being driven daily by the past and present! Thank you!
Excited to read the book
The perfect summer reading. Would love to receive a copy.
Would love a copy, thanks!
great message and thank you for sharing!
Agreed! “No leader succeeds without a great strategy.”
As an aspiring manager, I am looking for guidance to succeed. I would love to read this book!
What great advice! I struggle in the area of planning so have been looking for any type of advice I can get in this area!
Found the equation very interesting. Of course strategy is so very important, but I feel execution is equally important and must incorporate and empower your team. Also, I’m a huge Maxwell fan!
Thanks for the excellent post and knowledge share
Strategy must align with core companies values and goals. But to accomplish the strategy, the leader should play to the team’s strengths. How can we win, how can we accomplish our goals and follow our strategy based on the talents we posses? Underperforming teams can win if they share a common strategy and their leader knows how to lead. Happens in business and sports everyday.
I would love to read more about the components of a good and adaptive strategy. Thank you very much for the oportunity, Dan!
This sounds like a great book! A strategy is the plan to accomplish the mission and vision
A leader should read this every day! Often leaders reuse a strategies that they think are tried and true but do not have results. Different strategies for different situations.
Want to read for insights about application in public education.
I would agree with many is the execution of the strategy is key for many. Even within a company there needs to be strategies within the various departments that must support the overall corporate goal and align with the corporate strategy. I even took this one step further and looked at my personal strategy and how that affects my work group, then my department and then my corporation. Do I align and am I clear with my strategy. Thanks for the thought provoking article.
In Public Safety I’ve worked around so many folks with innate leadership skills & intent, but they have often lacked strategy. As a leader who continually wants to learn & sort out how to be better, I’m very interested to discover Brad’s insight on putting strategy first.
Thanks for the heads up on this terrific leadership resource & fun ‘free book’ offer.
To me Strategy also needs to be about the compelling and over-arching vision that somehow resonates for each of the stakeholders, both internal and external.. Ultimately the Leadership that succeeds is all about recognizing the opportunity that calls for urgent action and presenting the opportunity in a manner that wins the hears and minds of stakeholders.
Great post Dan.
Reading the comments was fascinating, especially those who offered thoughtful analysis of how they would incorporate strategies into their businesses that would align with values as well as non profits competing for dollars and dancing a “delicate dance.”.
I am very interested in reading this book — sounds like it can apply to more than just businesses and professional strategies.
I’m in the association world – and I lead my chapters through the stratgegic planning process – I love the equation – it validates what I’m doing for our chapters. I’ve got to read this book!!
I love reading and learning about leadership and strategy!
Great read, thank you
The best strategies are truly Dynamic. Keeping the strategy in clear focus along with an open mind, being nibble in reaction to shifting opportunities and allowing a creative environment all give life and vitality to the vision behind a strategy.
I like the simple, yet easily memorable equation, to make a key point on strategy.
Love the formula and the Netflix example.
Love this equation! Customer value is, of course, the focus, but if there is no margin in what you are producing, you won’t be able to sustain your offer. And if you can’t execute against your plan, you won’t successfully reach or engage your potential customer. Very relatable and helpful!
The Covid-19 pandemic should have forced every business to rethink it’s strategy… strangely enough, it seems so many have not! I’m hoping this resource will be a stimulus better than any check they might receive from the government! I’ll be reading this resource for sure!
Leadership is ALL about people to build trust and second to this is strategy.
I’m curious about the difference between leadership/management and influence/salesmanship…
The book sounds fantastic!
Thank you in advance!!
Honestly, this excerpts on leadership has gone a long way in equipping me with the necessary tools needed as a leader.
Love the simplicity of the formula. Thank you.
Love the formula and example, looks like a good read. Thanks.
This was just what I needed to hear today! We are in a moment of time where we need to revise strategy!
Brad, congrats on your book. I look forward to adding it my collection. Thanks much. Don
I’ve been leading all my life. I agree that we need a strategy. I agree even more that the strategy cannot be your best secret, rather it needs to be your favourite story. Tell it to everyone – everywhere. Tell it till all who work with you begin repeating it since it has now become their story too. Form a strategy that you love to live and tell. Then tell it, grow it, clarify it. Celebrate it. 😊
If there’s a simple tip to ensure you don’t lose your team while travelling the journey I’d love to know it
We’re in the midst of a generational transition at my office, and we’re in the process of setting our North Star. Heading over to Amazon to learn more, but I’ll hold off before purchasing. 😉
Like your approach to strategy. The formula has key elements of execution and customer value and you add the importance of flexibility. The concept of the “bet,” perhaps deceptively simple, makes strategy seem visual and approachable. How does the organization connect/prioritize its activities to support the strategy and mission.
Can’t wait to read this! Many people don’t really understand what strategy is, getting it confused with goals and objectives.
Strategy is everything!
Will be interested to read this. On of my Top 5 themes is Strategic, and I love learning new ways to apply that strength to my career.
First class leaders use their first class team to help develop, craft, and implement the plan. In this way everyone has buy in, ownership, and develops into better leaders themselves. Thanks for the thoughts today Dan!
Agree, and would love the book. I am relatively new as a leader, and would like to learn more.
“Great leadership requires judgment, good values, trust, and considerably more. But none of that matters if you don’t have a plan to compete, a strategy to win. Strategy is the anatomy of business success.” I believe this and that you can have a strategy but without building solid relations your strategy will not work.