Welcome to Clear Thoughts from
|Strategic Thoughts - Quality is NOT a Strategy
Quality is not a strategy. Books, strategic
websites, and executives may all provide
examples to the contrary, but quality is
simply not a
strategy. Nor is process improvement. Nor
gains. Nor employee development. Nor improved
marketing. Even growth is rarely a strategy.
If these are typical outcomes of your strategy
formulation process, your operational focus is
overpowering your strategic thinking. You
significant gains by mostly doing the same
a little better.
Protect your strategy and strengthen your
execute by avoiding confusion between strategic
decisions - the stakes in the sand - and the
operational decisions that will continuously
your ability to deliver well and satisfy your
For help in developing a strong strategy
possibilities for growth and profitability,
call us at 413-
|Customer Thoughts - Is Top Service a Top Priority?
Maybe you have no competition and never will.
case, skip this article.
But if there is any other place your
customers can turn
to satisfy their wants and needs, you had
on their experience. The more average your
the more important the customer experience.
Just what is that experience?
- How easy are you to find?
- What happens when they call you? Do they
answering machine or a knowledgeable
they get an answering machine, how many hoops do
you make them jump through? How many times
would you like to listen to your message and
- How quickly do they get good answers to
questions about your products?
- How quickly do they get responses to
- Are those responses complete or do they
go around and around?
- Do you help them determine whether your
will really solve their problem?
- Do you help them anticipate problems or
that perfect little bit of expertise that
will make things
go smoothly for them?
- Are they clear about what they can expect
step of the way when doing business with you?
- If your product doesn't measure up in
how are things resolved, by whom, and how
- Do you make it easy for them to buy from you
again, whether through easy reorders or
|Book Thoughts - Made to Stick
Remember the story that changed Halloween? The
one about the razor blades in apples dished
trick or treaters? In Made to Stick
Some Ideas Survive and Others Die,
and Dan Heath reveal the characteristics that
such stories indelibly in our memories. Never
mind that this story never happened.
This fascinating, fun and easy to read book
message about memorable messages as it traces
and demonstrates those essential characteristics
using the acronym SUCCES:
- Simple - it takes 1 nanosecond to
comprehend the evil of the razor blades
- Unexpected - razor blades belong
nowhere near apples
- Concrete - evokes an instant,
reaction as we imagine costumed children
those big, juicy apples
- Credible - spread from neighbor to
neighbor, we all believe someone we know read
- Emotional - pain, especially pain
on small, helpless, adorable children, takes
for generating emotion
- Stories - this one's been told and
like any good story
Whether you are interested in marketing,
compelling strategies, writing, teaching, public
speaking, communicating, changing the world, or
simply telling stories, the explanations,
exercises in this book will help you clarify
concepts and pulverize prosaic prose.
|Parting Thoughts - Upcoming Events
Leave the Competition in the Dust! and
Better, Faster, Cheaper are courses open
to all that I will be teaching at Westfield
this fall. Contact me or check the WSC
website for more information.
I will present Decisions! Simple Fork or
Torque? to the Women's Partnership of the
ACCGS on September 19th. We will examine the
three components of any decision and see that we
usually skip two of them. In addition, we
specific techniques to improve decisions,
indecision, and squash those decisions that
you make them over and over again.
If you enjoyed this edition of Clear
Thoughts, please forward it to others who
© 2007 Ann Latham. All rights reserved.
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Reflective Thoughts - Boundary Waters Lesson
With no Internet, cell phones, or email, I
some kind of tectonic shift. It didn't
happen. Eight days
of paddling and portaging in the wilderness
Minnesota-Canadian border with my family felt as
natural as it did when I was a pre-Internet
peaceful, beautiful and normal.
Wait! There was a revelation! To keep our packs
manageable, we planned the food down to the
We paced ourselves carefully and finished the
morsel at the last meal. Every one of us
eaten double, but we still felt strong,
So why is it that we eat so much when
idle at home?
Habit. Our routines pave the way to habits
and bad. The wilderness provided a new routine
Uncommon Clarity helps organizations improve the
strategies and systems that make people
processes reliable, and customers happy.
Please contact us for help
in achieving your business objectives.
- Ann Latham