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Great projects have purpose, vision, focus & ambition

If you know me, you'll know I'm a fan of  Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the renowned 19th century engineer.  One of my maxims is that designing and operating a great business is akin to a great engineering project:
Purpose: an overarching proposition of what you offer the world, to whom, and why they'd want it;Principles: mutually-reinforcing core principles and values which define and underpin everything you do;Vision: a clear, coherent, consistent, and elegant design of how you will make and fulfil your offer;Focus: doing what should be done to build that (and not doing what shouldn't);Ambition: thinking, planning, and acting for greatness. I'm working on a side project that's very different from my usual business activity, but still based on that maxim.  So I may go quiet for a while, although I'll be contactable on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you've got an interesting board or project role that needs someone like me, don't hesitate to get in touch.  You …
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Good strategy is making a choice and meaning it

I’m often asked to talk to groups and to lead workshops on strategic thinking. (I even get paid for it occasionally). In a nutshell, here’s what I say:

Clearly define your offer and how to fulfil it
For the customer, investor, supplier and employeeWhat, why, when, how, where, who?What not, why not, when not, how not, where not, who not?Keep it simple
Consistent, coherent, understandable, doable, communicableSimpler is easier, less risky, concentrates resources for maximum impactDo it!
Put in place the people, resources and prioritiesBuild the processes, organisation, culture and styleDedicate people to make change happenDo the stuff you decided to doCut out the stuff you decided not to doFix problem causes before clearing backlogsMeasure, report and communicate progress on the strategy (up and down, in and out)Think and act for greatness!

Simple, really. Any questions?

First posted April 17th, 2007 and, even if I say so myself, worth repeating again and again and again.