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“The [Strategy School] training is great—the real deal. Not like the general hype.” Bill Jordan, Bill Jordan Marketing

“Hi, Gary. Thank you—the [Warrior Class] lessons and the course  are fabulous!! I am addicted....Fortunately for me, my job allows me to spend many hours each day online. So what normally takes weeks I can do in days. Most days I spend 4–6 hours studying. I have found already that Sun Tzu and you have changed my way of thinking. Many positive things are coming from this for me, and I envision a brighter future.” Lawrence Healy

“I am going through the Warrior Classes, and as I learn, I find myself getting addicted to Sun Tzu. I never imagined that it would be that powerful!! Mohamed Tohami

“The [Strategy School] lessons are fantastic—in content and the method and format of teaching—TOP NOTCH!” Joshua Logan, Dayton, NV

“I am addicted [to Strategy School on-line training]. I am past the initial 21 lessons and this is as important as oxygen is to the body. I have been spending 2 hours in the evening and 2 hours before bed studying this. I also bought Art of War and Art of Sales. I will be ordering your Golden Keys off the site. I have forwarded your web site to my associates in the industry. I know of 2 who are signing up so far. Great work on this, Gary. I am just getting started and this is a PERFECT fit for our industry.” Kobe Zimmerman, distressed property investor

“This morning I downloaded and watched the first set of videos [from the Strategy School] and I am absolutely amazed. Before X-mas I read Sun Tzu on recommendation from a friend. I knew there was something deep in this but I just could not see how to apply it. I searched the net and found your site. I read your free version and it made a lot more sense but still could not totally grasp it. Today I watched these videos and it is as though Gary has come up to me and said, ‘Hey, you use binoculars this way round!’ WOW! I can now see the whole business environment, and life’s stuff in a totally new perspective! Mike Whitehouse

“I have recently returned to the National Guard and I am preparing for officer candidacy school. I thought I would do a little reading before I got into that environment. I have learned much from the online classes. It was a very nice presentation and easy read. Most of the time I found if I listened to my gut I would have scored better on the tests...very good lessons. I did poorly but I learned a lot and I started without having had any previous reading. It was fun.” SPC Melody MacMurray

“It’s Kelly Stomber from S Florida, again. I wanted to say I am really enjoying the [Warrior Class] lessons and the format; they really get me thinking!” Kelly Stomber

“Just a note to say how grateful I am for your EASY-to-learn version of The Art of War. I had read several books but was never able to really start to grasp the concepts until reading your book and signing up for your warrior class and strategy school. I would still be lost or, worse yet, be using the ideas of The Art of War in the completely wrong way. Thanks again.” James Mirabal

“I have been studying martial arts for 20 years. I hold a 4th-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo. I've studied many books on the various translations of Art of War. Your set is the best as it arms us with the vocabulary of strategy and a way to understand what is happening in a chaotic world around us. It’s daily reading for me now! Any free time I have I spend on your [Strategy School] material. I wish I had come across your books [Golden Key] earlier. One of my goals is (as is articulated in your material) to make my reactions to changing environments fast and accurate.” Ratinder Paul Singh Ahuja, Ph.D., CTO, Reconnex Corp.

 

 

StrategyJournal
Issue 03 May 14, 2008
BI-WEEKLY JOURNAL OF THE SCIENCE OF STRATEGY INSTITUTE

In this Issue

News Briefs

Strategy Institute Conference UPDATE
We are working on rough schedule for next trainers meeting scheduled  week of September 22, 2008 in Las Vegas. We are planning a day and a half  Master Council meeting follower by a half-day welcome/orientation session. That will be followed by two days of sales, marketing, and presentations training for new products and certification for new trainers.  The final day will be an open Council meeting for discussion regarding future directions. We have heard from most of your regarding your intentions to attend. If you haven't notified us, please do. We want to get a meeting room large enough to accommodate everyone. You can mail beckyw@clearbridge.com with the heading "Las Vegas Trainers Conference."

New Additions to Science of Strategy Websites
We have added a new page describing the Science of Strategy as "Rapid Competitive Cognition" at http://www.clearbridge.com/rapid_competitive_cognition.htm
We are also changing all our pages a little at a time to reflect this positioning of the Science of Strategy Institute. Much of this work can be seen at Front-LineStrategy.com, which describes our training program. We have also changed the initial slides in Sales Warrior On-Line training to reflect changes in the program.

New Product Development
Allan Elder has finished the PowerPoint Presentations for the first three of the 9 Formulas for Business Success. These are the Position Analysis, Find Friends, and Observe Opportunities Sections. The shows will be the core of the new product training line. The Council is working on this material at a new shared website. It will be tested, used, and refined by Council members before being released at the Trainers Conference in September. Allan did an article in an earlier Journal about his success using the 9 Formulas Principles in his wife's business and includes another testimonial below.

Customer Testimonials

05/07/08  I have been a student of warfare and its art and principles for nearly 20 years.  Your translation has offered me many great insights in strategic leadership both in business and my ministry... I believe God is no stranger to strategy and in fact He is the author of it.  I also believe He gave it to man to benefit all life and mankind! Hal H Sacks

05/05/08: As the top media salesperson in our market, I am always on the lookout for new ideas and information that will help me to continue to grow... Intellectually, it [Sales Warrior] is much more challenging than most books I have read.  So far I have found a few nuggets of truth and implemented a few ideas.  It’s still too early to tell what type of success they will bring, but I am confident that book has more than paid for itself.  I hope to be able to re-read it again soon so that I can take some more time to analyze all of the info you have included.  The MP3 book was a pleasant surprise. Thanks for including it! Jonas (Joe) Schmitter, Columbia, MO

05/09/08 The reason I am so sold on the Nine Formulas approach is because it works. I took Gary's book and put it to work on a new business last year. I am doing everything I can to be Sun Tzu and make strategic decisions based on the Nine Formulas, even when I personally don't think it's a good idea. I have not had any problems yet. We started this business from complete scratch, nothing, nada. Now we have grown to the point where we need to bring in more physicians (it's a medical business) and the income has outshined everything else we have done in our careers. Not only this, our overhead is almost zero. We spend less per month in overhead than can be imagined. Our business model is also praised at conferences where others want to do it but are terrified to try because it is so counter intuitive it simply doesn't make sense. Yet, it works. During this process I emailed Gary for ideas and checks on reality to make sure I was not interpreting things wrongly. I have to tell you, any business, including SOSI, that follows the Nine Formulas will be successful. At first, we also had "enemies" that sought to stop us. In keeping with Sun Tzu's approach to win without battle we quickly used strategy to show them how us winning was also them winning. Our hardest battle was helping them understand this was not a trick. Now we have former enemies helping us to succeed. They actually want us to do well. If we had simply focused on the "selling" aspect we may have brought in customers but we might have ignored the bigger picture of building a strategic business and things simply would not have worked out as well. Allan Elder, Professor, UC Irvine and Science of Strategy Master Trainer

Instant Strategic Insights: Positioning the Institute

As you know, we have been working at how to position the type of strategy we teach. In a series of articles, we have been comparing it with other forms of business strategy and other forms of sales training, since we most commonly get called in to do sales training.

Up until now, we have identified a number of distinct differences.  We teach an individual skill, not a planning or management process.  Our strategy works in areas which are outside of the boundaries of normal planning, areas where information is incomplete. Our strategy is aimed at making better decisions and identifying hidden opportunities. It works to help people make better decisions every day, not just in choosing their goals.

These ideas are beginning to come together around the idea of Rapid Competitive Cognition (RCC). Rapid competitive cognition is the psychologists way of describing the skill of quickly recognizing what must be done in complex competitive situations. The concept of "rapid cognition" comes from a number of areas of recent psychological research. This research, much of it compiled in the book Blink by Malcolm Gadwell, demonstrates how skilled individuals can make correct snap judgments in complex situations. These judgments are made so automatically that the experts themselves cannot always explain their basis. The right idea seems to pop into their heads.

One of the first places that this ability was recognized was on the battlefield where it emerged as rapid competitive cognition. Great generals can look at a chaotic battlefield and quickly identify what must be done. In French, competitive cognition was called "coup d'oeil," the "power of the glance," This is what they called Napoleon's ability to discern exactly what must be done during battle.

The good news is that this form of rapid competitive cognition this skill can be taught. How do we know this? Because Napoleon himself learned it. He learned it from a book called Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

The even better news is that this skill doesn't only work on the battlefield. It works in any competitive situation where people must make decisions under challenging circumstances.  How do we know? Because we have help people all over the world master it.

We, of course, call it simply the Science of Strategy. However, in the future, we are going to refer to it more and more as Rapid Competitive Cognition and Instant Strategic Insight because these ideas describe the value of what we offer more precisely.

The people on the Council, especially Allan Elder, is doing a lot of work putting the ideas developed in 9 Formulas in presentation form. Each module will differentiate what the Science of Strategy Institute sells from what is taught by other sales/strategy training programs. For example, the Find Friends Formula is a very different way of classifying people that the sales training view which breaks people into categories such as economic buyers, influences, gatekeepers, and do one. However, these modules are different from a reason: they teach a different perspective on seeing competitive problems. It is that perspective, not more complicated processes, that people need to make better decisions.

Though we will be offering a number of separate modules, the lesson in each will feed a central skill. The skill of seeing what is important in a competitive situation at a glance! This instant strategic insight simplifies complex situations making their core elements visible. It makes it possible to express these insights in terms that others can appreciate. this is the strategy of dealing with competitive chaos. It is the building of automatic creative responses.  The idea is to develop people who competitively innovative when the situation demands it.

I have always called this ability the “warrior’s mind” but perhaps I should call it the “general’s eye.”

All our modules will be described in terms of how they help people develop this unique, powerful ability. Find Friends is about getting the deeper perspective into a situation on which this vision is based. Yes, there are economic buyers, gatekeepers, etc, but what is important to create strategic insight in the overall picture. You can only get that picture by asking a different set of questions from a different set of people.

This skill is also very different from what other people are selling.  In the following two articles, you should get the sense of how different. This skill is especially valuable to salespeople but business managers and owners need it too. A little training in this skill is instantly beneficial, but it is a deep skill that requires time and practice to master.

The Balance Score Card and Strategy Maps

The Balanced Score Card and Strategy Maps

The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) and Strategy Maps are performance planning and measurement systems developed  by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton in a series of articles and books, built around the general idea of Management by Objectives. These systems work to measure whether the smaller-scale activities of an organization work in terms of its larger-scale strategy.

While traditional measures within most organizations are solely financial, the BSC system includes additional measurable objectives from customer, process and employee perspectives. These measure are designed to identify both past and future performance. The initial labels for these four perspective with  "Financial", "Customer", "Internal Business Processes", and "Learning & Growth" but over the years and number of other titles have been proposed and used.  In the mid 1990s, the "strategy map" method evolved where measures were selected from a set of  "strategic objectives" and linked into a map, often across the initial four categories but allowing the freedom for different maps to be drawn. Balanced Scorecards have been implemented by government agencies, military units, business units and corporations as a whole, non-profit organizations, and schools.

Classical front-line strategy might be considered the complementary opposite of the Balanced Score Card, touching all the little decisions that it cannot measured and, like the BSC, aligning them with the vision and mission of the company. While BSC provides a set of metrics that many organizations find valuable, classical front-line strategy provides a set of tools that individuals can use to analyze situations, discover opportunities, and make the right decisions. the BSC changes behavior from the top-down and the inside out, by changing what is watched and measured internally. Classical front-line strategy changes behavior from the bottom up and from the outside in, but teaching people how to respond to external events in a way the conforms to the company mission.

The Financial Perspective

According to the principles of BSC, the financial perspective determines if execution is contributing to the bottom-line improvement of the company. As taught by classical strategy, good economics is a necessary level for meeting any mission.   Kaplan and Norton describes three business stages:  rapid growth, sustain and harvest. Each has its own measurement profile. For example,  the growth stage might measure increased sales volumes, while the sustain stage can focus more on costs control and ROI, while the harvest stage might focus revenue volumes. Other typical BSC financial measures include cash flow, return on capital employed, and return on equity .

The practice of classical  strategy feed these various financial measures, especially those front-line people working it sales.  The classical perspective views organizations as competitive entities where financial performance is dictated by the competitive realities of the larger market. Having people on the front-line that understand this dynamic is critical. Front-line strategy spreads the understanding of those competitive realities as broadly as possible within the organization. Classical strategy defines the financial goals of an organization as the broadest and shallowest aspect of its mission. It involves everyone in one way or another, but it is the result of their activity, not the goal. This level of mission is necessary for competitive viability, but higher level of mission are what create competitive vibrancy.

On the front-line, individuals do not have to concern themselves with determining the correct stage of a company's development. The front-line competitive issues are simpler: defending a position or advancing it. The strategic tools for minimizing risk in an advancing a position also have the additional effect of reducing cost. The skills of aiming and moving a position to beyond competitive reach is what creates higher and higher profit levels. Financial success is certainly promoted by having the right measures, but it is created by the rapid competitive cognition of front-line people making good decisions quickly.

The Customer Perspective

In BSC, the customer perspective tries to measure the organization's value proposition for its customers. These measures can include ideas such as basic ideas such as customer satisfaction and market share and more sophisticate measures such as delivery performance to customer by date, delivery performance to customer by quality, and customer retention. 

A company employing BSC looks at three different areas of customer interaction: operational excellence, customer intimacy, or product leadership. It tries to develop a clear advantage in one of these areas while maintaining basic competence in the other two. The goals of customer perspective measures are to satisfy customers, create more sales, identify the most profitable customer groups, and similar customer oriented goals.

This is the area where the tools of classical front-line strategy deliver the most value. Customer relationships are created one person, one interaction at a time. These customer interactions, by definition, all take place on the front-line of the organization.  People with front-line strategic skills create better customers relationships through their more comprehensive understanding of the competitive situation. They are trained specifically to appreciate the perspective of the customer and how the customers sees their alternatives.

While BSC measures like customer satisfaction increase everyone's desire to make customers happy, rapid competitive cognition quickly identifies the fleeting opportunities for creating that satisfaction on the front-lines. In the fast-paced environments where your people interact with customers, they need to develop the instincts to understand what is important and why. They need listening tools to develop their individual customer perspective. They need aiming tools to see the highest value opportunities. They need moving tools to surmount obstacles. And they need claiming tools to establish the value that they have deliver.

The Internal Process Perspective

This perspective concerns itself with the processes that produces and delivers the organization's product or service, what BSC calls, its value proposition. These measures track all the organization's productive, with the idea of conducting those activities as efficiently as possible. Including in this process as also those activities that improve this processes that we normally associate with the quality movement and continuous improvement. Measurements in this category include tracking items such as the number of activities, opportunity success rate , accident ratios , and equipment utilization.

BSC uses clusters similar processes into groups. This groups include 1) operations management processes that measure asset utilization, supply chain organization, and so on, 2) customer management processes that develop customer relationships, 3)  innovation processes to improve product and services, (by new products and services), and regulatory and social processes that maintain  elations with external entities.

Except for the specific clusters of "customer management processes," and "innovation processes," this is an general area least impacted by the introduction classical front-line strategy. Internal production processes exist in controlled environments. These environment are simple enough that people are not overwhelmed by information. The detailed information required for top-down planning is generally available so the individual decision of people are not as important.

However, both customer management and innovation exist outside of the deterministic framework of normal planning. Customer management engages the creative intelligence of individuals working on the front-line and classical strategy orients that intelligence toward the organization's mission. Innovation also offer a similar opportunity for people in the organization to contribute to the system instead of merely operate it and again, the strategic toolkits for identifying opportunities and overcoming obstacles become valuable.

The Learning and Growth Perspective

One of the great insights of BSC is that the skills of capabilities of the people and systems within the organization that form its critical intangible assets. Without these skills, the organization would not have the skills to create values through its processes. This perspective is easily overlooked because these assets are less well understood than other types of assets.

BSC divides the assets in this category into jobs, which is the way human capital is deployed, the systems that deploy information capital, and the general climate that is called the organizational capital of the enterprise. These three factors create the infrastructure that allows an organization to meet is other measures. This perspective require that investment are made, balancing short-term financial gains against long-term success in all dimensions.  Measures here include training investment, illness rate, internal promotion rate, employee turnover, and gender/racial ratios.

BSC defines training in classical front-line strategy as an investment that an organization makes in its human capital. The levels of strategic skill  in the organization as a whole and the percentage of front-line employee certified as strategy professions are important measures determining the competitive health of an organization.

SPI's Solution Selling

SPI's Solution Selling is another end-to-end sales approach that is extremely process-oriented. Solution Selling works to align an organization's sales process with the customer's buying processes.

Like Miller-Heiman's system, SPI provides many different components encompasses sales planning, execution, and management. Solution Selling® diagnoses customer problems and syncs up selling and buying activities. Strategic Opportunity Selling is its  planning methodology. Major Account Selling focuses on teams selling to large, strategic accounts.  Executive-Level Selling are techniques to engage high- and mid-level executives. Sales Management and Coaching is their component for working with sales managers.  Solution Selling for Channel Management™ focuses on distribution to reach end-user customers. Solution Selling for Call Centers™ focuses on telemarketing.

Classical front-line strategy provides the perspective and decision-making skills that those working within the Solution Selling  framework need to make  these processes work. Since SPI's Sales Process Implementation Methodology and its Value Cycle follow a four-step cycle that closely resembles the Progress Cycle of Front-Line Strategy. This means that, working with  SPI's framework,  the four specific toolkits provided by classical strategy can be directly applied to both the on-going development of the sales process and to the techniques that Solution Selling uses within a sales cycle.

On-Going Sales Process Development

One of the strengths of the SPI model is its recognition that the sales process is dynamic. Like classical strategy, SPI's system sees developing the sales process and a process of continuous improvement.  New knowledge, skills, abilities, and techniques must be continually integrated into an organization's sales process. In classical strategy, we describe this specifically as advancing your methods. 

SPI's Sales Processes Implementation Methodology™ is a structure for introducing these changes.  This on-going cycle has four steps that continually repeat themselves:

  1. Project Initiation where new additions to the sales process are assessed.
  2. Management Alignment where new additions are integrated into the sales process.
  3. Management Review where new additions are deployed.
  4. Management Debrief where new addition are sustained.

Those familiar with classical front-line strategy will immediately see the overlap here with the Progress Cycle of Listen-Aim-Move-Claim by which all positions are advanced. These four steps can be used more effectively when their users are capable of applying the listen-aim-move-claim toolkits from classical strategy. The listening and aiming tools can help them better assess additions to the sales process. The toolkits for moving help them overcome any obstacles in integrate and deploy new additions. The claiming toolkit can help them both evaluate and sustain those additions.

The World’s Standard for Sales Execution Process

Much of the Solution Selling system is focused on not just process, but execution. In his book, The New Solution Selling, Keith Eades describes a four-step Value Cycle that builds up, in the terms of classical strategy, a sales position through the sales process. The main idea behind this model is that the salesperson has to constantly "measure" to ensure value. Again, this model has four steps, and again, those steps follow the Progress Cycle of classical strategy very closely. The Value Cycle's four steps are:

  1. Lead: Initial Value Proposition
  2. Verify: Refined Value Proposition
  3. Close: Value Justification /Analysis
  4. Measure: Success Criteria

According to API's research, a very small percentage of sales professionals — less than 5% — ever measure the actual value that customers receive from their solutions, or even get any credit from customers for the value that they delivered. This is why they see their Value Cycle as so important and this is exactly why the Strategy Institute teaches that the Claim step is so important in the progress cycle. Both systems see this as the single most overlook step because it is too easy to take it for granted.  

However, all the tools of the Progress Cycle give us a deeper perspective here on what is happening when we create value for a customer.  Listening tools help salespeople using Solution Selling formulate the value proposition, seeing opportunities for value that others would miss because they are trained to think in terms emptiness and fullness. Aiming tools provide alternative method for verifying value, bringing in principles such as distance, barriers, and dangers that are easy to overlook without  training in front-line strategy. Moving tools help the salesperson with closing the sale, helping the salesperson to see the exact type of response needed to the challenges they face in the terms of classical strategy. And finally, Claiming tools  help salespeople understand what types of elements  are needed at the measure stage to secure future sales and referrals.

The Involvement of Key Executives

SPI's research has determined that high-ranking buyers generally get involved in sales decision at the beginning of a project to set the strategy and direction, and at the end to evaluate success and make corrections. A large part of the SPI process is devoted to helping salespeople develop strong relationships with executives.  Within the Solution Selling process, the salesperson that helps executives to initiate  projects and achieve their strategic objectives. The focus on the Value Cycle and especially measuring the effectiveness of the program is a part of creating deeper buyer-seller relationships.

Mastering the principles of classical strategy gives your salespeople another type of opportunity to develop deeper relationships with the key executives. As certified strategic professional,  your salespeople will be able to offer strategic insights to executives that they cannot get anywhere else--except of course, through our training. Salespeople trained in our methods are able to identify, understand, and articulate customer's strategic problems on an extremely high level, increasing their influence in any consultative sale.

In a world where most salespeople are limited to understanding customer's problems in terms of the solutions that you offer, salespeople trained in our method can offer much more penetrating analysis of their customers' operations, and discover new ways to justify and quantify the value of your solutions to key executives. Unlike most people, your salespeople can be comfortable talking with serious business people about serious strategic issues at a high level of understanding, not only compared to other salespeople but to most business executives.

Copyright 2008, Science of Strategy Institute, Gary Gagliardi, all right reserved.

Copyright 2001-2007 Clearbridge Publishing. All rights reserved.
The leading publishers of award-winning books based on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.