January 13, 2015
Dana BaldwinAs a leader, are you realistically engaged with your company, your people, your suppliers, your customers and prospects? How open is your office door, really? How often do you escape the confines of your office to explore different parts of your office and factory floor/production area? Do you take time to visit or meet with both suppliers and customers? Please comment on our blog.


M. Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant

How Engaged are You as a Leader?

M. Dana Baldwin

Dana Baldwin Many people, including yours truly, have written extensively on the value of increasing employee engagement. There are many good reasons to do so. Included are: Better attitudes, better involvement in the success of the company or organization, higher productivity, better quality, lower scrap or rejects, better profitability, higher levels of internal entrepreneurship, more suggestions for improvement and overall better relationships within the company.

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Questions & Answers

We've spent considerable amount of time identifying our competencies. Now what?

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Our company is successful with many business improvement activities including quality and customer focus. Is there really a need to implement strategic planning?

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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 - simplifiedstrategicplanning@cssp.com Mail: CSSP, Inc. 2219 Packard Road, Suite 13, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Article Archives

Did you miss these recent articles?

Does Focus on Weaknesses Help?

By Robert W. Bradford

One of the most vexing issues encountered in strategic planning is a focus on the negative, especially threats and weaknesses. Obviously, we'd all like to avoid having weaknesses, but let's face the truth: no matter how hard you try, or how much you pretend, every organization has weaknesses. Greatness never comes as the result of eliminating weaknesses for one simple reason: it's impossible. Beyond that simple fact, making corrective action beyond a certain point an inevitable waste of time, attempting to correct weaknesses can do more harm than good.

Game Playing Will Be Important to Sony's Future Success

By Denise Harrison

Sony exemplifies how a company must continually refocus its resources in order to optimize its future potential. An earlier article discussed how Sony was exiting and de-emphasizing some of its core business to focus on areas with higher potential. As the strategy is evolving, we see that Sony is continuing to re-focus its resources to regain growth and profitability by broadening its gaming division to focus on entertainment.

Value or Low Price?

By M Dana Baldwin

When you learn what your customers value, then you can build on these values to gain an edge in the market place. While price is almost always a consideration, what the customer really is looking for is a solution to a problem. When all other factors are essentially equal, then price will be a determining factor. So, if you have you listened well enough to determine what the problem is, deeply enough to realistically provide an optimal solution to that problem, then you actually can compete effectively for the customer's business, even against a lower priced competitor.

Execution and Executability

By Robert W. Bradford

When I ask audience members at my seminars and speeches "What is your biggest strategic planning problem right now?", I inevitably hear the response "Implementation". Without question, this is one of the biggest issues for any company trying to accomplish anything at a strategic level -- execution seems to inevitably fall short of our stated intentions.

GE Spins off Major Appliance DivisionWhat Can a Small Company Learn from this Divestiture?

By Denise Harrison

GE is spinning off its Major Appliance division, highlighting the importance of making choices in strategic planning. In this case, Jeff Immelt, GE's CEO, is making the choice to focus on the higher margin energy, power, aviation, and health care businesses.

Strategic Planning Team - What Company Functions Should Be Represented?

By M. Dana Baldwin

How many people does it take to develop a good, actionable strategy for your company? The most straightforward answer is: it depends. It depends on how big and how complex your organization is. It depends on how entrenched people are in silos. It depends on how good your internal communications are. It depends on the trust levels within the organization.

Innovation and Strategy

By Robert W. Bradford

These two words go together sickeningly often. Every buzz-word spouting bozo tends to refer to themselves as "inspiring strategic innovation" or "working on innovation strategy". But these words have very specific meanings, and, when it comes to strategy, there is innovation that will be strategic, and innovation that will not be.

What Changes Impact Your Bottom Line?Hint: There Is More To Pricing than Meets the Eye

By Denise Harrison

In their well-researched book, entitled The Price Advantage the authors (Baker, Marn, and Zawada) use the following statistics to highlight the importance of pricing: A 1% increase in price achieves an 11% improvement in operating profit. This statistic should make us take some time to think about our pricing policies.

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Strategic Thinking

Success in today's business environment requires that a company's leaders have the ability to create a vision of the organization's future direction as well as the course it needs to get there.

While various business improvement techniques such as Total Quality Management and Re-engineering are often extremely beneficial to the ongoing progress of a business, correct Strategic Focus remains the single most important element in a company's success.

Since 1981, Center for Simplified Strategic Planning has provided client companies with the strategic planning tools and leadership required to obtain superior strategy results.

We understand the challenges typically faced by our clients in installing systems and practices necessary to support growth, while maintaining day to day operations.

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Robert Bradford, CEO
Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc.
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Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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