Archives for posts with tag: Value

Strategy and execution, as any good business school will tell you, are the Siamese twins of success. They both need each other, and they both need to keep each other close. One doesn’t work without the other. To strategise without executing is to do nothing, to put nothing into action. To execute without strategy is to ‘spray and pray’.

While the two exercises are equally valuable, in the consulting world they’re not deemed the same. Strategy work is the stuff that happens at the beginning and is of a relatively high value since the inputs directly affect the end result. Execution is following through on the decisions of the strategy, doing the work, putting the work out there and reviewing the results. It is perceived as of a lower value, since executing is basically doing what it’s been told to do by the strategy. A junior officer following the orders of a senior commanding officer if you like. Still a vitally important role.

This perception of value can have a direct effect on day rates and fees. From a consulting perspective, strategy is generally a collaborative exercise, at the customer’s premises and involving a number of people, where skills of facilitation and leadership come in. Execution can often be done on one’s own, from the home office, as it might involve building product, designing messaging, writing content, and putting together the communications assets to help deliver the message and transfer the information.

Indeed, you could almost say that strategy is consulting, whereas execution is about contracting. Strategy happens less often, and commands a higher price, whereas execution lasts for longer and involves more days’ work, but at a lower rate.

And this is the double-edged consulting sword of strategy and execution, as we strive to find the right balance between days in the saddle and fees coming in, between more stimulating work and less stimulating work, and between taking on work directly and delegating it to others.

Advertisements

I’ve had it with avocados. I’m done with them.

Yes, I know they’re good for me. They’re rich in those omega-thingies and they taste nice too. You just never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes they’re too hard, like cheese, but you’ve opened them now, so you have to eat them. You can leave the other half in the fridge, even with the stone still it, and they take about 5 mins to go off.

Sometimes they’re too soft, and have gone mostly black and bruised, not appealing to look at or taste, so they’re wasted. Even with the health benefits they’re a bit of a lottery.

And then there’s the process of how they’re made, and the vast distances they need to come to service the needs of a consumer in the north west of Europe. Take a look at this video (it’s 12 minutes long, but worth a quick look). An awful lot of the environment goes into creating one of those capricious little suckers, and the ramifications are pretty far-reaching, as you’ll see.

No, much as I like them, I think I’m done with avocados.

When I drink a pint of booze I often think about the effort that went in to getting it into my hands and to my lips. Someone had to grow the ingredients, then harvest them. Somebody had to take the ingredients, combine them with other ingredients that they didn’t have to grow but still acquire, and using skill, technology, equipment and time produce a barrel of beer.

Somebody then had to warehouse the barrel, schedule it for delivery and get someone to distribute it to a licensed place that served booze. Finally, somebody to had to set up the barrel, connect it to some pipes, pour the product into a glass and serve it to me in their furnished, heated, cleaned building.

A pint is generally 20% either side of €4.50. It lasts about 10 to 30 minutes, depending both on its number in a sequence of beers and my mood.

Does that not strike you as being ludicrously good value? The effort that’s gone into producing the lovely, creamy work of art that should be in front of me right now, as I write this on a Friday evening.

Whenever I want to pay for something, anything, that’s relatively small, I use the pint benchmark:

Is this item expensive compared to a pint? Does it provide comparable value to me?

Then I act on my decision accordingly.

I have a mobile phone subscription, as do many of you I’m sure. My mobile phone company sends me a monthly mid-period statement to my phone of how much stuff I have left, depending on whatever bundle or package I have. I don’t know what my package is exactly. It’s cheap and cheerful, much like its owner.

I’m looking at the statement right now, and I have 98 minutes left across all networks, which is good. I also have 998MB of data left, which presumably means my allocation is a GB, because I don’t use it much outside of a wireless network.

Guess what? It also tells me I have 44,989 texts left this period. Yes, you read that right, 44,989 texts. WTF!! Clearly there is no or negligible cost to the company of processing a text message, and I can send them free with viber and whatsapp, including send photos and movies. But who in the marketing department decided that it would be a good idea a) to place a limit on this, b) to set it at 45,000 texts per month and c) to communicate how many I have left, when if I texted constantly for the period in question, 24/7, I couldn’t get through them all.

Give me something that is meaningful, something that I value. Otherwise you’ll make me angry. And you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.