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Align 7 Forces to Your Driving Force to Accelerate Forward


When you get into your car to drive someplace, you rely on everything in the car working together to get you there safely in a reasonable time frame.  But, you may run into problems.  Your destination could change, because the client you are planning to meet calls and asks you to meet somewhere else.  You are likely to run into traffic, construction, accidents and other external, disruptive problems.  Your fuel could run low or you might find that you cannot keep the windshield clear in a snow storm.  Government regulations could force you to go through a toll station that only accepts exact change (a problem I ran into in Chicago this year).  Your GPS technology may fail you as it directs you along a path that is wrong.  Could your competitor be meeting with the customer right now?  I’ve just outlined the 7 forces (external and internal) that impact every business using a simple example of a repeated task we all do often.

  1. Sales & Marketing Channels
  2. Supply Chain and Outsourcing
  3. Market Constraints and Government
  4. Risk of Disruption
  5. Technology
  6. Competitors
  7. Internal people, products, and processes

I was recently introduced to the concept of 9 Strategic Areas and One Driving Force that was originated by Ben Tregoe in the 1980’s and explained in his book with John Zimmerman called “Top Management Strategy.”  The 9 areas are put into 3 categories of:

  1. Product/Markets — Does your overall strategy focus on the products you offer and the markets you serve?
  2. Capabilities — Does your success come from focusing on what you do and doing it for lots of different people, like a contract manufacturer?
  3. Results — Are you more of a portfolio manager and run “by the numbers” the way many venture funds and private equity run?

Here are the 9 areas and one of my own examples of a company that focuses on that strategy.

  1. Product/Markets
    1. Product Offered — Vehicle OEM such as Ford
    2. Market Needs — Walmart with its “one stop shopping”
  2. Capabilities
    1. Technology — Intel with computer/memory chips
    2. Production Capability — Foxconn with its contract manufacturing
    3. Method of Sale — Amazon will sell you anything as long as it is online
    4. Method of Distribution — McDonald’s or any of the thousands of companies franchising their system
    5. Natural Resources — BP with its focus on energy or De Beers with its focus on diamonds
  3. Results
    1. Size/Growth — Any startup with angel investors looking to make it big with an IPO even though they have not made money yet
    2. Return/Profit — Banks that loan to existing and profitable businesses

If and only if you can align the 7 forces to your driving force, can you accelerate your business in the right direction and sustain your growth and profits.