Strategic Business Secrets found in Eggdrop Soup — discover them when you do something different!
I was half-enjoying my egg drop soup as NBC's Nightly News was about to come on. Then I suddenly realize the soup I was eating…was not the soup I expected!
The soup from the Chinese restaurant, would be far more salty, with an oily texture. Or at least that’s what I thought.
But guess what — it was not.
This simple realization emerged, just because I started tasting it…as opposed to “just eating” it.
I was making specific observations about the flavor and texture, and temperature… rather than having some vague notion about it.
Is it important for businesspeople to taste the egg drop soup…strategically?!
We don’t want nothin' fuzzy in soup. Or in business. Fuzzy ideas, assumptions and expectations come in all kinds of forms, and affect us in all sorts of ways. This confusion about reality makes us unclear about our starting point for any goal. Or can limit us in what we think we should do….or can get done.
Practically, think of being unclear, or “not knowing” reality, when you do something as simple as give directions to “Northlake Mall,” here in Atlanta.
Yes, you know where you want to go…but if you don’t know your starting point AKA “reality,” or the actual taste of the soup)... you can’t begin to give any workable directions. Add a double ladle of emphasis if you say you know where you want to go, but you just can’t quite clearly define it. (Like you've never heard that in strategic meetings.)
That’s the way it goes in business situations -- whether you’re trying to define new business direction or sales growth... creating a new brand identity… a website to reflect that… a social and outbound marketing plan to drive traffic to it… a coordinated marketing strategy….well, you get the idea.
When you come down to it, “fuzzy” thinking, not really knowing certain things —like specifically where you want to go, your actual starting point, and other relevant factors — will bite you in the butt.
You might be able to accomplish many things with vague idea of what’s going on…and even an unfocused direction. But think of the capabilities your team could unleash — and the more efficient, angst-free pathway everyone could be taking — when they’re producing something that’s focused right on the target!
Strategic thinking mistakes happen every day all day
a client wants help with a critical business presentation, and spends 80% of the time stirring the details, and later tries to mix in big-picture strategy and branding. It's tough to make that mix taste, right.
Someone else wants a sharp promotion, but when it drives them to a website, they feel like they've entered the DeLorean Time Machine and are visiting 1990 -- outdated product descriptions, outdated graphics, a website that doesn't answer common questions, or provide insightful solutions as clients might expect
The sales talk and process doesn't sync with the marketing,... onboarding and service don't sync with sales…
That creative dynamic can happen when we are clear and specific — in reality — about where we are going, and our starting point. Wild craftsmanship of solutions is finally important… It's even more important to gain insight on exactly what needs to be done.
It takes courage to think and support strategic thinking
This was a great reference for me of what I already have been practicing for many years — the high value of being truthful about reality. And taking a stand for it (even if unpopular). And I'll confess— I hadn't always done that.
Forgive me, but there have been times within the last few years where I thought “the client isn’t ready for it,” and I didn’t push certain recommendations. I've worked with companies where certain business, branding, and marketing issues…and even executive “thinking styles” that don’t work very well…aren’t spoken about. It was the CEOs problem.
And even if people weren’t fully conscious of exactly what was going on, most dealt with it like the Emperor’s New Clothes. But I noticed that the prospects for success are greatly increased when reality…truth…straightforwardness….are the guiding principles. And while I respect the client’s choices, I clearly offer those choices.
Like my consulting mentor Robert Fritz has been fond of saying:
“Reality is an acquired taste.”
My consulting training with Fritz increased my appetite for un-subjective "reality." We can come to a consensus on reality in most things beyond politics and religion — there's really not "my reality" and "your reality." Granted, there are perceptions, and those count, but let's not debate that there's a turn in the road 200 feet ahead, and you're going 70 m.p.h. It's time to turn.
Those choices are the most powerful access points you could have in business, and the greatest opportunity for significant and powerful change. Being able to create results, includes three primary factors: #1, the ability to see clearly what you want. #2, the ability to see exactly where you are. #3, the action steps you need to get from #2 to #1 with both points clearly in sight.
One of the worst things that can happen in a strategic planning session, is that everybody knows where it's going to go. They’re bored of the soup, it always is the same. Always.
They want to get out of the conference room as soon as possible. They know that little is done as a result of these “strategic” working session…so they just want to “survive” it. So all the answers are queued up. Easy….no thinking. But that also drives people crazy, cause it’s unproductive. And they’re right. And so the work they do all day long, which on so many levels they really care about, doesn't get advanced even during these occasional strategic sessions.
What if you were to really...look at strategic business issues freshly?
What if you didn’t automatically have all answers queued up? What if you stopped answering texts and emails long enough to engage your noodle -- not the one in the soup, but the big hunk atop your neck?
What if you engaged the insights and opinions of your key employees, customers and prospects…and, especially, your own fresh thinking?
What if you actually tasted the egg drop soup?
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Joel Alpert is a branding and marketing consultant, who has worked with Fortune 500 and “Fortune 500,000” companies….huge and wee companies in just about every category of business. He learned how to discern reality clearly — or so he thinks — and other consulting skills, though years of study with Robert Fritz, Inc., and other business, marketing, and consulting leaders. Among his many business and person interests, is that he likes good soup. [ If you liked this piece, ready to take on this challenge to your thinking? Revel in my other posts...see my page, connect and/or say howdy;