November 8, 2016
Dana BaldwinAre you listening to your customers' needs and preferences? Are you watching what your competition is doing, and heeding the impact of your company on the environment in which you work? Please comment on our blog.


Dana Baldwin

Do You Listen to Your Marketplace?

By Dana Baldwin

Dana Baldwin Do you listen to your customers, to your competition, to your environment? What influences your decisions about where to take your company in the future? Will continuing to do what you have always done work in the future, or will it doom you to a slow spiral into oblivion?

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Questions & Answers

Should you have an executive summary format as part of the Simplified Strategic Planning process?

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What is the difference between a Market Segment Designation and a Market Segment Definition?

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This column is intended to answer common questions related to strategic planning and strategy in general. In each issue we will answer questions posed by seminar attendees, our clients and our readers. Please send your questions to - Mail: CSSP, Inc. PO Box 8272, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Article Archives

Did you miss these recent articles?

Chaos and Strategy

By Robert W. Bradford

One of the underlying - and very human - desires most people bring to strategic planning is the desire to put things in order. This is useful and desirable, but this desire often runs headlong into a messy fact about the real world that is unavoidable: the world is a chaotic place, with many events happening that are beyond our control.

What Went Wrong with Apple Maps? What Can We Learn from these Mistakes?

By Denise Harrison

Apple is world renowned for its innovative product introductions - but as you look back over history, there have been plenty of flops to go along with the successes. Think about Ping and Rokr - oops, you missed these? Most people did. And, the introduction of the Apple Map application was another clunker. Using Maps, you were driven into dead ends; airport runways were specified as roads, and general requests often put you in a wrong location (yes, you ask for a hospital and get a restaurant.)

Customer Service - Thinking Outside the Box

By M Dana Baldwin

Very recently we heard that Nike, Inc. signed a long term agreement with Apollo Global Management, a private investment group, to establish manufacturing in the United States as well as complete logistics operations. The goal of this arrangement is to improve deliveries, to shorten lead times and to improve Nike's ability to respond to market demands with new products and quick turn-arounds at a cost competitive with or lower than their current supply chain from Southeast Asia.

What does good differentiation look like?

By Robert W. Bradford

One of the things we strive for in our strategies is good differentiation. As a key dimension in strategic competency (the other is value to the customer), differentiation is what makes both specialty and commodity strategies work. With a specialty strategy, the differentiation must help target customers to decide that our product or service is worth a premium price. In a commodity strategy, our differentiation is what enables us to succeed at a lower price point than undifferentiated competition.

Are You Preventing Your Company from Growing? How You and Your Leadership Team Could Be Causing Bottlenecks

By Denise Harrison

One CEO complained that his financial person was preventing his company from growing. How was that possible? Over the years when issues arose, the financial person would develop a system of checks and balances that would prevent the issue from occurring again. While conceptually it is good to have policies and procedures to prevent issues from arising, continuously adding more and more can simply become cumbersome and impede forward motion.

Unintended Consequences of Well-intentioned Actions

By M. Dana Baldwin

In Strategic Planning, teams make decisions based on data and on the best knowledge of the planning team and organization. Unfortunately, well-intentioned plans can result in incurring unintended results. While analyzing what could possibly go wrong with a strategy or high level tactic, it simply is not possible to anticipate everything which could occur in carrying out the plan.

The Volume Trap

By Robert W. Bradford

Over the years, I've encountered dozens of companies that seem to be caught in a trap of their own making. It's the result of doing whatever it takes to satisfy customers that, in the end, will buy from the supplier who offers the lowest price.

CVS Envisions a Different Future

By Denise Harrison

Over the years CVS has transitioned its business from a traditional drug store format to become more of a health care company. Why? Some trends indicated that more profitability came from its sale of prescription drugs, so a focus on health care rather than consumer products made sense. To further its movement into being a healthcare provider, it purchased MinuteClinic and opened MinuteClinics providing routine diagnosis, screening and vaccinations in many of its stores.

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