Lean Strategy by David Collis

Lean Strategy by David Collis:
Strategy and strategic planning is an essential in management, however, many managers struggle when planning on a strategy. One of the problems is that some managers would invent a strategy that would define their chosen path, where they’ll stick to that path for a few years without adapting to the changes in the environment if there is. David Collis, a business professor at Harvard Business School, talked about this issue and wanted to demonstrate how managers should be flexible in their approach. In addition, managers have to adapt both their strategies to the changes of the environment, continually, and to their ongoing decisions and ideas.
In the article, Collis explains how strategy is the opposite of entrepreneurship, where strategy is as a method or a plan chosen to achieve a goal or solve a solution that clearly defines our path before ahead of time, while entrepreneurship is as n activity that responds to new opportunities as they occur without planning, leading to new opportunities continuously. However, he argues that both are related to each other where strategy without entrepreneurship can lead to disarray and vise versa. In my perspective, strategy, especially an effective one can somehow encourage entrepreneurship by determining the limits within which advancement and experimentation should happen. Nonetheless, strategy should not be about having complex efforts to try to develop plans for the future.
For Collis, because this has been what managers face throughout their businesses, he recommends the managers, or the organizations, to go in for the “Lean Strategy Plan/Process”, which is all about maintaining a strategy that provides directions and arrangement. Lean Strategy is considered as an approach to run an organization that supports the idea of having continuous improvement within an organization. its all about learning and improving, and from its name “lean”, managers should go for lean concepts such as lean manufacturing, and lean thinking. Moreover, the main goal is to create value for the customers by eliminating the factors that does not create value for the customers, and wastes time, effort, and money.
Basically, Collis approach is about combining both deliberate and emergent strategy. He determines the Lean Strategy as followed:
1- Vision: The organizations purpose.
2- Analysis: Analyzes the company’s strength, weakness, opportunities, threats, resources, as well as capabilities.
3- Deliberate Strategy: Contains the businesses scope which are the limits of what the organization can and can’t do, competitive advantage which shows why the company’s customer would prefer their products, and the objectives which are the “near-term” goals that defines success.
4- Continually learning and improving: Managers learn something new from their experiences and decisions every day that are guided by their strategy.
5- Emergent Strategy: Feedback from all the decisions and ideas the managers have made. It adapts all the details and ideas of the deliberate strategy over time. Moreover, the process restarts.
All in all, with this process, the strategy would be a guide for all the managers ideas, and the organization would have a flexible entrepreneurial activity, however, its not random. What is meant by that? Organizations have innovations within their strategic framework, and without such framework, learning from their decisions and experiences would be ineffective.
Moreover, I learned a lot from this article. I learned that strategy is not just a rigid, “routine” method that should be followed, it is also a way to help us improve and learn from our day to day experiences and choices. To relate it to what we have taken in this course, it is kind of close to the idea of Strategic management, which is when an organization develops a plan to achieve their goals and objectives. In addition,
Planned Opportunism by Vijay Govindaraja:
This term is used by the professor Vijay Govindaraja, known as VJ that’s known for being one of the world’s leading professionals on strategy and innovation. This is a method used to know how to react to unpredictable situations by focusing on weak signals. To VJ, its more like a way to establish data to distinguish the important changes in customers taste, wants, and needs, technology, and environmental forces. With this approach, managers could lean towards non-linear thinking, which is thinking based on creativity, as learned in our course, as well as establishing new ideas from new perspectives.
According to the article, Planned Opportunism achieves three “things for the enterprise”. Firstly, it creates a “Circulatory System” for new ideas. Secondly, it develops the capacity to prioritize, investigate, and act on those ideas. Finally, it builds an adaptive culture that embraces continual change ( (Govingaraja, 2016, p. 56). VJ also mentions that a planned opportunism can take in a form of scenario planning and other tools. Firstly, there should be an analysis regarding the organizations conditions that might affect it. Secondly, the organization/ managers should recognize the weak signals that might have a negative impact on the enterprise. Last but not least, they need to develop a hypothesis concerning the future, and test its accuracy with low cost experiments.
Furthermore, Scenario Planning is also an effective tool because it helps create both a better plan for the future goals, and a direction to achieve that goal. I kept searching online how this approach helps organizations and managers, and, I found out that Brenden Breikstein has used this method with a new team of executive and his leadership team. He mentions that while using this method, the new team were able to reevaluate their work to be done more strategically. Using the three Box solution, they were able to a fascinating perception for their future with applicable action. All in all, the Three-Box solution can help bring out different attitudes and behaviors to change them for a better business performance.
Moreover, VJ uses the concept of Three-Box Solution:
1. Box 1 manages the present, were it focuses on keeping the current business going.
2. Box 2 is about forgetting the past. Even though the factors used made the business successful, managers should forget what made the company successful in the past.
3. Box 3 is about creating a future, where managers have to create a ne model for a better performance.
What I have learned from this article that relying on one plan it is not enough. A manager, a company, an individual etc. should create more than one plan and rely on all of them because a person can go through unpredictable situations, thus, there should be a “back-up plan”. I have learned that an organization could have a balanced measure of time, money, and resources if they would forget the past, and manage what they are currently going through, learn from their experience, and focus on the future.
All in all, thinking about it, even some individuals like me could benefit from VJ’s idea. Some students would give up after their first try, some would keep trying until they reach their desired goal. Moreover, as a student, linking to VJ’s concept, I should learn from my mistakes, however, not letting my past affect me whether it’s a success or a failure, because a student needs to focus and put his/her energy their future.
The Elements of Value by Eric AlMquist, John Senior, and Nicolas Bloch
During our course, we got to learn about Maslow’s hierarchy of need, which is a model that signifies our basic needs such as food, shelter, security, and more. Moreover, they are divided into a lower need and high need from psychological, safety, and social, to higher needs such as esteem and self-actualization. As we learned, we can’t achieve the higher needs if we don’t achieve the lower one’s first. Why is that? Because the higher our needs are, the more complex it gets, therefore, without attaining our psychological and safety needs, we won’t attain our esteem and self-actualization.
Eric and his team linked their concept with Maslow’s by identifying “30 fundamental attributes”, using the term “elements of value”. The concept is the more values there are, customers would be more loyal, and the company revenue growth will increase. The elements are divided into four; functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact. After reading the article and doing some researches, the “Bain& Company” has cooperated with an online sampling and data collector company, and their surveys showed that companies having multiple elements of value would end up with loyal customers. For example, every customer has different needs, however, they want the same solution regarding their needs, they would want to save time, reduce their risks and effort, and organize.
According to Eric and his team, without these needs, there would be struggle to connect with the customers. Its not necessary for a company to go for every need in their list, but its important to focus on the higher ones. They mention in their article that “The elements of value pyramid is a heuristic model–practical rather than theoretically perfect–in which the most powerful forms of value live at the top…” (ALmquist, Senior, ; Bloch, 2016, pp. 48-49). Also, focusing on certain values more than others is not a problem. Some companies would focus more on the functional category and compete within, while some would compete on the emotional element of value such as Blue Oceans, mentioned by Eric and his team, that helped them increase their growth.
When it comes to this article, at first, I didn’t understand the idea behind this approach, but then I got what Eric and his team are trying to do. Its just like magnet, the idea here is push and pull. The manager or the organization has to first study the customers wants and needs in order to produce what the customer desires and meet their needs; pull. Afterwards, when the organization will often go through situations, where the manager should try to push away the problems and manage to solve them; push. Thus, this is what I have learned from the article. It’s simple, if you put your effort, energy and value into something, you’ll get your desired outcome.
In conclusion, all of these articles can be linked together. They all share a concept, that is focusing on the present, learn from your past experience but don’t let it get into you, don’t let the past affect your way of thinking, and if you put more effort and time into your thoughts, you’ll get your desired feedback.

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