This week my Vistage groups were delighted to learn from Marc Emmer about the Secret Sauce. In the intersecting circles of short term vs long term thinking there is a sweet spot where both are in balance and true magic happens. That is where the secret sauce is made. Only about 2% of companies seem to stay there most of the time.

Marc then went deep on discipline around knowing your customer, providing something unique, making the process duplicatable and repeating this over and over. It sounds simple in theory, but each step takes a huge amount of time and focus. So you think you have a compelling Unique Selling Proposition. (USP). Then you have to test it. How do you test it? Do you have a large enough sample? Do you do A/B testing? Then, you find out it is not all that compelling and unique, or it is unique but nobody cares….you have to start over. It is a never ending cycle and you can’t just take 2 days once a year to do this.

Oh, and by the way, how many times does something urgent knock all your good intentions off the cliff? This is why you need to take time to think strategy. Is it an hour each month? Is it 2 hours or 1/2 day with the top 4-6 people in your organization? You have to start blocking out time on a regular basis to focus on this.

Once you have clear strategies, Marc encouraged the members to communicate them to the whole organization, not just to the senior team. It reinforces the culture and aligns the whole team with the vision, mission and values.

Sometimes, strategic planning can be overwhelming. Not if you take enough time to do more planning. End result? Fewer mistakes. Who doesn’t want that?

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Image courtesy of Marc Emmer.