Last week I attended the “Getting the Deal Done Breakfast Conference” in Bellevue, WA. The topic was: “The Importance of Strategy and Culture in Middle Market Companies and Deal Making.” The conference was outstanding with 100 attendees benefiting from the expert panel, keynote and networking.
The expert panel included:
- Kit Gerwels - Business banker with Columbia Bank
- Marc Hutchinson - Partner at Bashey, Hutchinson and Walter, CPAs
- John Martinka - Dealmaker with "Partner" On-Call Network
- John O'Dore - Managing Director at Meridian Capital
- Greg Russell - Experienced business and transaction lawyer with Peterson Russell Kelly
Robbie Bach, the author of Xbox Revisted; A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal was the featured speaker.
I BELIEVE THAT SOLVING DIFFICULT PROBLEMS REQUIRES A TREMENDOUS ABILITY TO SIMPLIFY." - ROBBIE BACH
Robbie’s presentation topic “Thinking Outside the Xbox” was enlightening and I left with pages of notes.
Here are a few take-aways from the conference.
According to Robbie, a strong 3P Framework will summarize an organization’s strategy in a three-page document that includes a crisp purpose statement, up to five principles, and a maximum of five priorities. In his words, each of these elements breaks down as follows:
# 1 - Innovating to manage change
When creating a strategy, you strive achieve focus in any endeavor you embark on whether it be for a software development project, a job search, or a phase in your life. By creating a strategy of focus, it’s about getting an entire organization to not only say what they are going to build, but what they are not going to build.
Instead of an extensive document, be precise and keep it to three pages. When thinking about “purpose”, try to be a concise as possible by refining it into one sentence. Within your strategy, you will include 5 principles and 5 priorities.
- Why do we exist?
- Why are we in business?
- Where do we want to be in the future?
- What will we deliver?
The principles you agree on will enable everyone involved to know how to behave throughout the endeavor. They are laws that shall be followed by everyone involved.
- How will we act?
- What are the non-negotiable rules and key strategies?
The most critical tool for independent teams of creative people is a list of clear priorities. This list helps people make independent decisions rapidly knowing they can justify those decisions later on.
- What’s the framework for trade offs?
Here is Robbie Bach talking about 3P
The reality is that most innovation requires as much perspiration as it does inspiration – especially in the context of a larger company where internal obstacles will arise.
#2 - The operating plan:
Innovation – BXT (Business eXperience Technology)
There is a temptation to think of “innovation” as some sort of new technology when in fact many new approaches don’t require any engineering at all. Start thinking about the innovation spectrum as BXT: how could we innovate in Business, eXperience, and/or Technology.
B – Business - Capitalize on business insights and shortfalls. i.e. Apple .99 songs
X – eXperience - How do you put a smile on your customers’ face? Their experience matters. Uber is a taxi company but the experience offers more than a taxi.
T – Technology - Wield technology to your advantage.
No matter what size your company, BXT is a thought process that can help spur the broadest type of innovation necessary to create new opportunities.
CULTURE IS AN INCREDIBLE FORCE MULTIPLIER THAT CHANGES THE WAY PEOPLE WORK."
- ROBBIE BACH
When all is said and done, culture is everything. Establishing a common culture fundamentally changes the way employees get things done. Culture starts at the top. It is how you behave every day. Cultural change is leadership led and HR advised. Be an upstart leader, a leader is about knowing when you are over matched and getting help.
Robbie Bach talks about culture and leadership:
If you are unable to attend an event or connect with Robbie Bach, you can buy his book here: