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Implement High-Impact Strategies

Take your strategy workshops from good to great.

Edmund Rudman




You’ve booked your annual corporate retreat, you’ve got your whole management team in attendance, and you spend the entire week strategising. Sound familiar? The real question is what happened after the retreat? Was last year’s strategy implemented? How successful was it?

Strategy is a vital component of a business’s growth and success, but it’s also an area that many businesses don’t implement.

So, how do you formulate the right strategy for your business, and then – more importantly – implement it?

The strategy workshop

First, you need to ensure that you have the right people at your strategy workshops. If everyone has the same perspective, the result will be a very narrow strategy. Instead, diversify the session.

Of course, as a starting point the senior management team needs to be there. But then you need to ensure that there is sufficient diversity. Ask yourself these

  • Are all the major departments/divisions represented?
  • Regarding gender, women see the world (and business dynamics) in a different way to men. It really makes sense to have both sexes present. Do you?
  • It goes without saying that the workshop mix should include delegates from all the main racial or cultural groups. Importantly, the purpose of doing this is not to be politically correct. Rather, one is recognising that the different groups may have different priorities and perspectives. Do you have diversity to enrich the quality of the strategic conversations taking place?
  • Are you letting the youth be heard? As a general rule, I normally request that at least two of the workshop participants be under the age of 30. Strategy workshops that are attended exclusively by the older generation may not adequately represent the views and aspirations of the younger generation. Great strategy embodies the views of both these groups.
  • Have you invited a maverick or two to the workshop? These are the people who are not afraid to share their ideas, even if they’re perceived as controversial or unconventional.
  • Have you invite key clients, suppliers, or strategic partners to attend select sessions? They could add valuable outsider insight, plus you’re showing them how important they are to your business.

Read Next: Strategic Positioning Basics

Setting the scene

Once you’ve selected your workshop mix, you need to ensure that meaningful conversations take place. The focus of strategy is not about producing thick documents that nobody uses. Instead, focus on producing a two-pager that is understandable to everyone in your organisation. Remember, everyone in your business has a role to play in implementing the strategy.

Producing the right document starts with having the right conversations (which incidentally are more important than the final document itself). So, how do you ensure strategic conversations take place?

I suggest you focus on the four Ds, namely discussion, debate, dialogue and disagreement. If you can tick all these boxes at the end of your session you’ve had a good

A cautionary note: many strategy workshops commence at the strategic level but are very quickly drawn into vigorous discussions about operational, tactical or even administrative issues. Although the latter are important, the majority of the air-time should be devoted to truly strategic issues. Operational excellence is another matter to be discussed at another time.

Finally, don’t be scared to enter areas of tension or conflict. High-performance teams engage – when necessary – in areas of ‘uncomfortable debate’. This is sometimes difficult or unpleasant, but it’s a vital component of strategy.

Using the right brain

While strategy needs a logical foundation supported by analytical techniques and suitable frameworks and models, it’s important not to turn strategy into a numbers game.

For strategy to have a great impact, bring in a stronger dose of right-brain thinking: make it more creative, more imaginative, more intuitive, more visual, even more playful.

This links in to another important point. We need less telling about strategy and more selling. Strategy can no longer be imposed upon people. Getting buy-in is a vital ingredient. In this regard, the way strategy is promoted and ‘packaged’ can play a big role. Stated otherwise, strategy needs both intellectual and emotional appeal. It needs to come alive through a visual and emotional representation.

Read Next: Why You Can’t Fake Social Responsibility

The ingredients of a great strategy

Once you’ve completed your session, you should have a great strategy outline. This should include a number of core ingredients including:

  • A business model that works – for now (recipe for value creation)
  • Effective leadership (drivers of strategy)
  • Connecting with clients and potential clients (satisfying/exciting them)
  • Connecting with employees (engaging/inspiring/empowering/growing them)
  • An element (or elements) of uniqueness.

And remember, connecting goes far beyond communicating – with connecting, people get each other, there’s feedback, and strong flows of energy in both directions. A great strategy must excite and energise those people who are tasked with its implementation.

Here’s the trick: Simple strategy means using one or two critical strategic processes and a handful of unique rules that guide them. Remember, strategy is a contact sport – you get engaged when you’re part of the action, not watching from the sidelines.

Strategy should be a natural add-in, not a cosmetic add-on. In other words, it should naturally integrate with, or inform, or ‘flavour’ business processes and organisational dynamics (formally or informally).

It’s not a bureaucratic function or duty that is imposed on people and – most importantly – it’s not separate from the rest of the business. Great strategy is a golden thread running throughout the organisation that picks up vital signals, integrates all key components, searches for new opportunities, gives direction, differentiates, inspires and energises, and focuses on achieving desired results.

Hot tip

Workshop guidelines

When facilitating strategy workshops, I like to suggest that high-impact strategy is built around the following five Fs.

  1. Focus: What business do we want to be in? Many companies refer to this as their mission statement, and it’s all about defining the breadth and depth of their proposed business activities. Hot tip: focus on what you do best, and partner for the rest.
  2. Follow-through: This relates to action and implementation. Many strategies fail due to a lack of follow-through. Many business executives place too much emphasis on high-level strategy, on intellectualising and philosophising, and not enough on execution – this is essentially the discipline of meshing strategy with reality, aligning people and resources, and achieving the results promised.
  3. Feedback: For strategy to be successful, meaningful feedback needs to take place on an ongoing basis, ensuring that all key stakeholders are kept up to date.
  4. Flexibility: Strategy is formulated and implemented in the context of a dynamic and rapidly-changing world. Upfront, a number of key assumptions and forecasts are made. If there are major surprises or substantial changes to key variables (such as the price of commodities, or the exchange rate), then the plans need to be amended accordingly. In other words, the strategy process needs to be robust with a high degree of flexibility.
  5. Fun: Don’t forget the element of fun. Most strategy sessions are dull, boring and overly serious. This often results in standard, generic and uninspiring strategies. Importantly, strategy doesn’t only have to position, it also has to inspire. When strategy becomes fun and exciting, people want to become involved and the process is a lot more productive and value-adding.

Dr Edmund Rudman is manager of the strategy unit at Maccauvlei Learning Academy. For more information on strategy and developing effective strategy workshops, email


Company Posts

A World Of Opportunity Awaits With Peli Peli

Business ownership has always been the entrepreneur’s way of shaping their future. If you’ve always wanted to experience life in the US, this is your chance.

Peli Peli




Global media has been reporting that the chances of non-American citizens being granted access to move to the US are getting slimmer with the new administration. However, there is still one channel of access that allows people the opportunity to relocate that hasn’t been amended by the presidency.

The EB-5 Visa programme was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a programme initially enacted as a pilot in 1992, and regularly re-authorised since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centres designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

The question most commonly asked by foreign investors is where to start selecting a relatively low-risk company to invest their money into. One such entity that has been granted designation under the EB-5 programme is the restaurant group Peli Peli.

Built-in success

Peli Peli is a South African cuisine restaurant that has gained incredible traction in the competitive American restaurant industry. They currently have six successful branches opened in the Texas area. Peli Peli Vintage park, which opened in 2009, generated revenue of $5,3 million in 2016.

Related: The Pros & Cons Of Owning A Restaurant Franchise

Peli Peli Galleria opened in 2015, and had $5,2 million revenue in 2016. Peli Peli Kitchen, their first fast casual concept, opened in October 2016 and reported revenue of $2 million in 2017. Peli Deli, a downtown fast food casual lunch concept and Peli Peli Cinco Ranch, which opened in February and July 2017, respectively, are both showing incredible growth to match their predecessors.

At least two more locations will be opening in 2018, and as all new Peli Peli locations have historically generated positive cash flow within the first year, the company expects to increase its revenue exponentially.

The power team behind the brand

The restaurant chain has garnered popularity, and won a multitude of awards, including Best Service & Best Atmosphere — Readers’ Choice Award (Houston Press) and 2013 Diners’ Choice Award winner for the Top 100 American Fare Restaurants in the United States (OpenTable). Peli Peli is also rated in the top ten in Houston, Texas (which boasts over 12 000 restaurants) on both Tripadvisor and Yelp.

The Peli Peli trio who own the business are Chef Paul Friedman, Thomas Nguyen and Aiki Tran. These three dynamic businessmen have their own share of accolades to speak of. Chef Paul, who is a born and bred Joburger, has been a contestant on Cutthroat Kitchen for multiple episodes on the Food Network. He won the People’s Choice Award and was placed third as a judge in the Gumbo Smackdown 2014. He received the 2013 Chef of Chef Awards in the 9th Annual Houston Wine and Food week, as well as being the 2013 Cadillac Culinary Master. He was also one of 60 Houston Chefs to be listed in the book Best Chefs America.

Thomas Nguyen, who is Chief of Marketing for Peli Peli, graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and was a former litigation attorney. He was the Houston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award recipient in 2015 and an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Gulf Coast finalist in 2016 and 2017. He was Entrepreneur of the Year — Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce and is also a freelance writer for the Houston Press.

Peli Peli’s CEO, Aiki Tran, has over 12 years of experience in restaurant technology and won the 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year award — Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce. He was responsible for streamlining the technology infrastructure for franchises such as Popeyes and Wings, Pizza N Things. He also became the number one reseller of Aldelo and Dineware POS systems in Texas, with installations in over 200 restaurants.

Related: The Only How-To You’ll Need To Start A Restaurant

Joining their ranks is South African Ryan Stewart. Having owned 16 restaurants throughout the country, he is also the CEO and co-founder of the Mozambik restaurant chain. Ryan has 17 years’ experience in the industry and is being brought on board by Peli Peli to assist in their revenue and store location growth.

Your path to the US

With the combined talent, brainpower and experience of these four businessmen, it’s no wonder Peli Peli is achieving success. The investment required to qualify for an EB-5 Visa through Peli Peli is an amount of $500 000 and is structured as an equity investment at risk. It entitles the foreign investor to permanent residency, and within two years of living in the United States, a green card for the investor and his/her dependents.

For more information on how

You can be a part of the EB-5 Visa programme through Peli Peli.


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4 Ways To Find Your Own Business Style

The only way to develop a business style is step-by-step over time.

Timothy Sykes




Finding a style in finance will define how you react to changes and how you approach new situations. It’s as important in business as it is in stock trading. Developing a business style and developing a stock trading system are extremely similar pursuits.

But I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy to do. It will take time and you do have to be willing to work at it.

Here are my four ways of finding your own business style.

1. Get rid of your expectations

You can’t force anything to work. It’s necessary for you to be flexible when it comes to finding a business style. Begin by letting go of any expectations you have before trying a new style.

Prior to attempting a new style, you have to be willing to go into it with no expectations. You never know what you’re going to find.

Related: 8 Steps to Building Your Business According to the Lifestyle You Want

2. Track your movements

Some things are going to work and some things aren’t going to work. I always tell my students in the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge that they should keep records of the things they’re doing. Keep these records as detailed as possible because attempting trial and error can quickly lead you in circles.

Don’t fall into the trap (as I did in the beginning) of trying the same thing multiple times because you never tracked the results.

I keep large spreadsheets with notes of the various styles and systems I’ve tried in business. Business mistakes can be costly, so you need to do everything you can to avoid making them.

3. Look at what others are doing


I refuse to believe that someone is doing something truly unique. The moment someone makes a breakthrough in business there are a hundred people replicating the same things. And that can be a powerful tool. Consider what others are doing and see whether you can learn something.

It’s why I also advocate finding a mentor to help you out. They’ll be able to help you out and you’ll benefit from their enhanced experiences in business.

Again, track what you’re taking from other people so you know whether something is working.

Related: I Started Saying ‘No’ To These 6 Things. My Life And My Business Got A Lot Better

4. Refine what you do

Rarely will anything in business work the first time. However, your first attempts will give you a good benchmark as to what you need to do next.

You should never be satisfied with what you have, even if it’s working. Always work on improving your business style. I believe this is the most important thing because it also teaches you how to adapt to changing conditions over time.

Last Word – Constantly Growing

There’s no step-by-step guide for how to develop a business style. The only way to do it is to obey the fundamentals and then develop everything over time.

Even though the process is long, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot of lessons and gain from a huge number of experiences over time.

This article was originally posted here on

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6 Questions You Should Be Asking When Coaching

Top athletes have coaches because they’re winners. Business leaders should be the same.

Nadine Todd



Dr Marshall Goldsmith

Whether you’re a CEO looking for a mentor, coaching your management team, or structuring a coaching programme for your managers to implement, there are six questions that can help anyone get better at anything.

The expert

Dr Marshall Goldsmith is a best-selling author and world-renowned business educator and coach. He has coached top CEOs, including Alan Mulally, former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company.

The key to a successful coaching programme is simple dialogue and establishing responsibility. The person being coached must understand and agree that success lies in their hands. They must take responsibility for their actions.

Related: How Business Coaching Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

The method

Once every few months, have a direct coaching session. Ask (or answer for yourself) these six questions:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. What are you doing well?
  4. Do you have suggestions for my improvement?
  5. How can I help you?
  6. So you have suggestions for me?

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