When deciding about the long-term success of your organisation, you perform an intricate balancing act of understanding the alternative directions open to you, the criteria on which you will evaluate outcomes, the outcomes you will prefer and the information that will improve your odds of succeeding.
Sometimes unusual strategic moves become your best decisions – for instance, when you partner with your competitor, and enable opportunity that would otherwise not exist, or you drop long held believes about how to manage people, and suddenly have a workforce that is willing to go beyond what they’ve done before.
Sometimes opportunities are lost through your decisions – for instance when you pass by an acquisition of a business that becomes the new way of how things are done.
Think for instance how Blockbuster failed to acquire Netflix in the 2000s, which now in 2016 has achieved a market cap of US$ 41.31 billion, while Blockbuster was liquidated in 2013. Decisions can result in opportunities lost through what some ascribe to lack of vision.
Clearly strategic decision-making requires a complex set of skills – such as vision, systems thinking, understanding opportunity, aligning to the market – to mention only a few. But, to master strategic decisions we firstly need to master choice.
The dating and “social discovery service app” Tinder offers a good learning ground for understanding choice. In simple terms the first step in Tinder is a choice between ‘like’ and ‘dislike’, ‘yes’ and ‘no’, where you swipe the faces of complete strangers in opposite directions, based possibly on how symmetrical their faces are and the absence of clear signs of psychopathic traits online.
This first step is based on simple heuristics, ‘mental short cuts’, that help you to, based on minimal information, select between what is acceptable and less acceptable. In strategic decisions, executives also use short cuts such as choosing best first option, meeting minimum criteria, or adoption because it reminds them of a successful similar moment in the past.
Whilst these types of heuristics can reflect common bias, they also help executives to save time and determine criteria of acceptability. Therefore strategic decision need to hinge on a clear and joint understanding of what are acceptable behaviours and outcomes and what are not.
The second thing that happens on Tinder is that someone may match your interest. This creates an important filter between where you are able to play and where your offering will not be valued. A mistake many top teams make in their strategy sessions is to plan in isolation, forgetting the constraints of where the company is wanted and where not.
A company cannot be all things to all people, and should also not create plans separate from the changing needs of the market. Strategic choice therefore requires an understanding of where you can really add value, and where others should rather work.
After a match has been made on Tinder further vetting of suitability takes place through short communications, phone calls and ultimately the meeting in person, where the biggest consideration is whether the Tinder profile matches the face of reality.
This process is one of reducing uncertainty. It is a subconscious and conscious comparison of expectations. Likewise the executive decision makers require reasonable expectations of returns as decision criteria. With that they need to be sure about the guiding principles that govern their choices – what they are willing to do or accept as embedded in their values. If integrity is such a value, the options in strategic choice become more focused, and the effect of uncertainty reduces.
Next, on Tinder there comes a moment where one of the parties decides to move forward or not. This follows from understanding whether to explore more options or to establish direction and action. Business leaders too have to reach a point of either choosing to create more options and choose a strategy that is better than the one before, or to move forward with the current and see how things evolve.
To know the difference between these two directions they need to have a clear understanding of the vision of the ultimate outcome of the company, and keep this foremost in their minds.
As all companies that don’t reinvent themselves come to an end, the conversations in the organisation should be permeated with a need for purpose, a reason for being, and why you are in business in order to be able to almost instinctively understand which direction will work.
Finally on Tinder and in business there are moments of extraction, when one has to say good bye to good intended strategic plans. Many executives fall to the bias of endowed progress, putting more into failing strategies because of all the effort that had already been put in.
Strategy entails several options such as immediate entry or exit, delayed entry or delayed exit, unexpected options, or getting the best of all worlds. Decision-makers need to know when to step back and cut losses and when to push through and not give up.
The difference lies in on the one hand understanding that we cannot always see how the activities of today may enable the opportunities of tomorrow and on the other hand to know that a well-developed intuition is an important source of information even for strategic decisions.
1. Rule of infinite options
When making decisions understand that there are infinitely more options than you can think of, but choosing the best available option will probably suffice.
2. Rule of guiding principles
If it is against your core values, don’t do it.
3. Rule of deciding to decide
It is better to take action through decision than to not take action at all.
4. Rule of relevance
If your strategic choices are inward looking rather than outward looking and forward looking, they will fail.
By improving the way we choose we can ultimately enhance our strategic decisions and trajectory of our firms. There will be mistakes and there will be lessons learnt, but by knowing the criteria of good outcomes, where you can really add value, aligning values and purpose, and tapping into both the best information and your intuition, there is no need why better things may not be realised.
Jeff Bezos Reveals 3 Strategies for Amazon’s Success
One of the richest men in the world shared his leadership tips for running a company.
“It remains Day 1.” That’s how Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, signed off in his 2018 letter to shareholders. He’s been propagating the “day 1” mantra for decades, and it’s meant as a reminder that Amazon should never stop acting like a start-up – even though the company now boasts more than 560,000 employees and more than 100 million members of Amazon Prime, the company’s paid service for free shipping on select items.
Here are some of the most useful nuggets of wisdom Bezos shared in his letter and during a recent onstage interview:
1. Standards are contagious
Bezos says he believes high standards are teachable rather than intrinsic. “Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt,” he writes. “The opposite is also true.”
If a company or team operates with low standards, a new employee will often – perhaps even unwittingly – adjust their work ethic accordingly.
He also says that high standards in one area don’t automatically translate to high standards in another – it’s important for people to discover their “blind spots.”
Try making a list of your duties, then ask trusted colleagues to tell you which responsibilities are your greatest strengths. If certain things from the list don’t come up during the conversation, it might be useful to think about how you can up your personal standards in those areas.
2. Set clear, realistic expectations
If you’re looking to raise your standards in a particular area, the first course of action is to outline what quality looks like in that area. The second is to set realistic expectations for yourself – or for your team – regarding how much work it will take to achieve that level of quality.
Exhibit A: You won’t find a single PowerPoint presentation at an Amazon company meeting. Instead, teams write six-page narrative memos to prepare everyone else for the meeting.
Bezos says the quality of the memos vary greatly because writers don’t always recognise the scope of the work required to reach high standards.
“They mistakenly believe a high-standards, six-page memo can be written in one or two days or even a few hours, when really it might take a week or more!” Bezos writes.
3. Stay involved with the people you’re serving
Whether you’re selling a product or service, it’s a good idea to make sure you never lose touch when it comes to the people you’re serving – no matter how high up the ladder you climb.
Bezos says he still reads emails from his public inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) as a way to keep his finger on the pulse of what’s happening with Amazon customers.
He says he believes focusing on what customers are saying is much more important for success than focusing on what competitors are doing, and he often compares customer feedback to company data to see where they misalign.
“When the anecdotes and the data disagree,” Bezos said at a recent leadership forum at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, “the anecdotes are usually right.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
You Don’t Have To Go It Alone: How To Find A Mentor As A Freelancer
Need a mentor but don’t know where to start? These tips can help you find your perfect mentorship match.
As a freelancer, having enough time to not only grow your business, but also grow your career can be challenging. Who can you turn to for guidance when you’re the boss? For those who strike out on their own, putting time and effort into finding a mentor (or several) can make a huge difference in establishing a successful freelance business.
Among small business owners who have professional mentors, the five-year survival rate for their businesses is 70 percent, according to a survey by BCSG; among those who don’t have mentors, the five-year survival rate is half of that.
Now that you’re settled into the new year, it’s the perfect time to reach out to your network (or establish a new one) and find a group of mentors. Here are some tips for identifying those who can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses
As a freelancer, it can be challenging to find the time to step back and examine your professional strengths and weaknesses. While it can be tempting to rely on a mentor to give you guidance on where you need to improve, you’ll get much more out of any mentorship relationship if you’ve done some self-reflection first.
Both will provide you with a detailed explanation of your personality, including analysis about workplace habits, relationships and ideal career paths. The results will help you understand how you interact with clients and colleagues, as well as what types of careers and working styles are likely to be a good fit for you.
If you need more help determining your working style or how to achieve the next step in your career, a career coach could be a great investment. Finding the right coach can help you develop a strong understanding of your own personality and work style. Once you know more about yourself, you’ll be able to better identify mentors who can help you play to your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses.
Form relationships through networking groups
Once you’ve had time to reflect on your professional needs, it’s time to find a mentor. As a good first step, look into virtual and in-person networking groups where you can meet people in your industry.
Networking groups and programs, like Entrepreneurs’ Organization, allow you to connect with other freelancers and business owners so you can learn from what they’ve experienced over the course of their careers.
This can help you find a mentor who’s also gone through the challenges of becoming a freelancer.
The location of your potential mentor can be a determining aspect as well. Having a mentor that lives close by gives you access to knowledge of the local trends and makes it easier to scheduling a quick chat. Meetup.com offers access to thousands of organisations around the world in sectors ranging from outdoors and adventure to fashion and tech to writing. If one event looks interesting, take the time to attend and talk to the other participants. One (or more) may have helpful insights for your career.
Keep in touch with former colleagues and associates
Just because you’ve decided to strike out on your own doesn’t mean you can’t still rely on former coworkers, bosses or other working relationships that you developed before becoming a freelancer.
Those you’ve worked with in the past are already familiar with your working style and approach to business, which is helpful context for any mentor/mentee relationship.
Make sure to keep in regular contact with former colleagues, especially those you admired when you worked together, so that you can use each other as a resource for professional questions or opportunities. Haven’t been in touch for a while? Reaching out can be as simple as sending your congratulations about a new job or reminiscing about an old work memory, but it can go a long way toward helping secure a valuable mentor.
Seek out people who inspire you outside your professional realm
Inspiring mentors can come from unexpected places, not just your professional bubble or your fellow freelancers. Take a few minutes to research interesting organisations in your local area, perhaps through volunteering, and get involved where you can.
Other volunteers might come from unique backgrounds and work in different fields or industries, so their points of view can provide you with unexpected perspective that may help you think about a challenge or client differently. A mentor from a different field has a unique opportunity to see your business from the outside and won’t be bogged down by conventional solutions.
Finding a mentor is one of the most valuable investments you can make for your future as a freelancer and for your personal work enjoyment.
Mentorship makes a difference all the way to the top – 71 percent of CEOs said having a mentor directly improved their company’s performance according to a study in a book by Suzanne de Janasz and Maury Peiperl.
Beyond the financial returns you can see from mentorship, having advisors you trust can make freelancing feel less overwhelming and more rewarding. So, make sure to put yourself out there and start building your mentor relationships.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Start-up Industry Specific3 weeks ago
How Do I Start A Transport Or Logistics Business?
Snapshots9 years ago
Habari Media: Adrian Hewlett
Snapshots3 weeks ago
27 Of The Richest People In South Africa
Types of Businesses to Start3 weeks ago
11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas
Entrepreneur Profiles6 months ago
10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing
Types of Businesses to Start7 months ago
10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!
Support for Women Entrepreneurs10 months ago
10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family
Lessons Learnt3 weeks ago
6 Of The Most Profitable Small Businesses In South Africa