What The Heck Is Strategy?
Jul 31 2012

I think about strategy often.  It may not be apparent from my random, non-strategic blog posts, but I think about it in corporate and sometimes personal terms.  Most of my roles since grad school have required strategic thinking.  It’s an art and a science and sometimes I find that I make decisions without having full detailed analysis to support them and the result is good and sometimes I do tons of analysis and they don’t turn out the way I’d hoped.  The best is where I’m able to get a lot of good black & white data and combine it with observation of the situation along with referencing my past experiences.  I believe strategy is a lot about pattern recognition.  The best way to recognize patterns is from living life and facing many challenges.  The next best way is to do a ton of reading and case analysis.  The ideal is to have experience in both.

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We are working on some strategic initiatives at work (yes, I have a new job and it’s awesome) and my boss sent me a link to How strategists lead, by Cynthia Montgomery (Harvard professor), in the McKinsey Quarterly.  You have to register to get access, but it’s well worth it. Key takeaways for me from the article are: “The only way a company will deliver on its promises, in short, is if its strategists can think like operators.” And “It is the leader—the strategist as meaning maker—who must make the vital choices that determine a company’s very identity…

I’ll be blogging more about my new role in the near future.

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Timing Is Everything…
Jan 31 2012

Most of us know that timing has a lot to do with things turning out as desired or not.  If you try to bring a product to market before it’s time (e.g., anything similar to the iPad that came out before the iPad), you often fail.  If you take too long, you can miss the proverbial boat.  This is true for a) your career, b) relationships/love, c) start-ups, or d) teaching your kids to ride a bike.

My daughter just started riding a bike this weekend.   Her brother learned when he was 5 1/2 and she’s almost 7 (2nd child with parents who are crazy busy).  I knew she had good balance given she rode her scooter around the house and on the street & sidewalks with ease.   So this weekend her dad put her on the bike we got her last Christmas and on the first try she was riding easily.  She was ready and the timing was right!  I think it was partly because we didn’t make a big deal of it or try to make it happen before she was ready.

If you had given me chocolate mixed with salt 5 to 10 years ago, I would have probably spit it out or not even tried it, but Dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt is remarkably yummy.  Timing.  I’m still not fond of chocolate mixed with peanuts, but maybe in 5 more years…

I haven’t blogged too much about my career recently because the company I went to work for after I left the Austin Technology Incubator back in August 2011 prohibited employees from mentioning on their blogs that we worked there.  Needless to say, I did not know that before I joined and I’m no longer there.  So the timing seemed right to hang up my consulting shingle for a while.  My current, not very creative name, is ASG Consulting (LinkedIn).  I just completed a  project for a company in the clean energy/smart grid space and may do some more work for them in the future.

So here I go again attempting to create something that didn’t exist before, but now instead of a hardware or software product, I’m selling my time & expertise.  I feel fortunate to live in a time, town, and space where I’m well connected and opportunities are like hidden Easter eggs waiting to be found.  Who knows…one of these consulting jobs might end up in a full time job if the fit (skill match, culture, location, etc.) is right.

If I can help your company or someone elses you know with operations, strategy, and/or business development (particularly partner/client management), please ping me and let’s talk.  Next up, I have to get some business cards…

Author: | Filed under: austin technology incubator, entrepreneurship | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »