The Chemistry of Strategy tm Newsletter February 27, 2015

The future arrived this week!

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In 2000, IBM ran a TV ad called “The Refrigerator.” In it, the doorbell rings and a woman opens the door to a repairman, who says, “I’m here to fix your refrigerator.” The woman responds, “My refrigerator? There’s nothing wrong with my refrigerator.” The man replies, “Not yet” The ad ends with the line, “Appliances that call for help before they break down – they’re coming.”

This week my Chevy Volt copied me on an email it had sent to my car dealership requesting that they have me bring the car in to handle a recall. My car took the initiative to get itself repaired -- before I was even aware of a potential problem. Fifteen years after I first saw the IBM ad, I personally experienced the future as IBM predicted it.

There is never an excuse to be surprised by the future. As I've often said, the future leaves muddy footprints in the present. They might be big footprints, such as the IBM commercial, short news reports about a laboratory making a breakthrough, or a paper in a technical conference's proceedings, You can observe less clear footprints by talking with and really listening to your customers, vendors, and competitors.

When was the last time you looked and asked yourself where all those footprints are headed, and how they could affect your organization? Keep in mind that we all overestimate the short-term impact of change and new technology, while underestimating the long-term impact. I first heard this insight from UNIVAC's J. Presper Eckert, co-inventor of America's first commercial mainframe computer. Since then I've seen it played out over and over again. It is easy to grow impatient and lose your early mover advantage when the market is slow to meet your unrealistic short-term expectations. 

Create a strategic plan with your team

Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

A well-facilitated strategic planning process is a proven way to surface and explore the potentials of changing technology and markets. It creates a plan for capitalizing on the long-term opportunities while optimizing the value of your current reality.

How long have you been saying that you will develop your strategic plan, but you haven't yet done so? Why? Perhaps it remains on your to-do list because it feels like a huge, laborious process and you haven't the time to spare to do it. Peak-performing companies have a clearly defined strategic plan…and it doesn't have to take long to create an effective one.

John W. Myrna

is co-founder of
Myrna Associates Inc


Create and Communicate Your Strategic Plan

John Recommends Again

Big Wave Surfing
by Kenneth Thurber

This book takes a fresh look at technology and innovation and how you and your company can identify and ride the next great wave.

Speaking Gigs

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The Chemistry of Strategy

The best-selling book based on John's 50+ years of business experience.


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