Calade Partners – Insights and Reflections On Our Six Month Birthday

Posted by on Jun 1, 2014 in Insights

June 1 marks the start of our second six months in existence as Calade Partners.  After literally growing up at FedEx, making the break to start our own business was exciting and very different. “We” refers to my two business partners, Karen Rogers and Debbie Newport. We worked together in corporate marketing leadership at FedEx, managing some of the smartest, most highly motivated team members imaginable. Our peers and executive team were also world class. We enjoyed prestige and respect as a result of our positions at one of the world’s most admired companies and had resources to deploy to ensure FedEx’s brand was known and respected throughout the world. The idea of starting our own business was exciting and very different. On December 1, we launched our marketing and strategy consultancy, Calade Partners.  “Calade” is a French word for a cobblestone road.  We were embarking upon a road that would be an adventure.  We packed our boxes and said our goodbye’s to our team, office, routine, and identity.  We stepped onto the calade with our new computers (goodbye technical support), email address, phone number, business cards and anticipation for the future. After six months, by definition, we are successful.  We have already earned back our investment capital, have a...

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Save Me, Strategy

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Insights

Save me!  Nothing could be more terrifying in business than to see green turn to red, sales slipping, best employees resigning, and investors threatening to take action.  We read about companies that were once high growth and well-respected who are filing for Chapter 11 or are under attack by activist investors. Why companies go into decline or fail range from being a victim of the economy, to technological obsolescence, to out of control costs due to new government regulations.  In hindsight, CEO’s who are honest with themselves will be able to pinpoint where a different decision might have changed the outcome. How do you ensure that your company makes the right decisions and moves to stay competitive and growing in your market or industry? The answer is simply to develop a complete strategic plan, ensure the leadership team has goals, metrics and tactics aligned to the plan, and review the plan annually.  Yes, a simple formula that not only hedges your company against failure, but sets the course for continued growth and profitability. If strategy is so important, and the answer is so simple, why do companies continue to go into decline or fail? The strategy must be right. Yes, there had to be a catch!  How do I...

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Strategy, Simply Put

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Insights

The fourth post in the Series. Core to running your business is your strategy.  The word is often used synonymously with mission, vision or plan.  However, the strategy is not the same as a mission, vision or plan. –  Vision is necessary as it imagines a future for the business which, if well stated, provides inspiration and aspiration for the team. –  Mission is what a company stands for, its purpose for existing.  The plan is about execution, tactics and specific initiatives to achieve specific goals. –  Strategy is imperative to long term success because it defines what makes your company distinct, why customers would buy from it, and what is required to maintain that distinctiveness over time. Strategy has to be well thought out — how a company sustains itself in its marketplace or how it makes strategic moves into new markets, or introduces new products/services, or takes existing products to new customer segments. Michael Porter states, in his famous “What is Strategy?” paper for Harvard Business Review in 1996, “Strategy renders choices about what not to do as important as choices about what to do.” Once it is clearly articulated, a strategy stays relatively constant unless there is major change going on in the company’s industry. The intention...

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The Strategic Process Simply Put

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Insights

Core to running your business is your strategy.  The word is often used synonymously with mission, vision or plan.  However, the strategy is not the same as a mission, vision or plan.  Vision is necessary as it imagines a future for the business which, if well stated, provides inspiration and aspiration for the team.  Mission is what a company stands for, its purpose for existing.  The plan is about execution, tactics and specific initiatives to achieve specific goals. Strategy is imperative to long term success because it defines what makes your company distinct, why customers would buy from it, and what is required to maintain that distinctiveness over time.  Strategy has to be well thought out — how a company sustains itself in its marketplace or how it makes strategic moves into new markets, or introduces new products/services, or takes existing products to new customer segments.  Michael Porter states, in his famous “What is Strategy?” paper for Harvard Business Review in 1996, “Strategy renders choices about what not to do as important as choices about what to do.” Once it is clearly articulated, a strategy stays relatively constant unless there is major change going on in the company’s industry.  The intention of strategy development is to clarify the unique...

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What Is Strategy and Why Do I Need One?

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Insights

In the last post, I explained that a strategy was a set of objectives, a plan that could be distilled down into executable tactics for each operating unit of the company. But, let’s go a little deeper.  There are characteristics of a “strategic plan” that make it unique from, say, a business plan. A strategic plan has a longer term horizon – at least three to five years.  The key characteristic of a strategic plan is that it lays out a plan for your company’s success in its market, defines what makes it distinctive from its competitors, and what tactics you will deploy to ensure that you win! A strategic plan is different from an operational plan in that it specifies what customers must be targeted and secured, what products or services must be developed or expanded, and what geographies to target for expansion.  An operational plan provides tactics for running the company.  The strategy articulates how your company does this better and differently than your competitors. According to Michael Porter in his infamous dissertation in Harvard Business Review in December 1996 called “What is Strategy?,” he states that, “A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that is can preserve.” Stated more plainly, a main...

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