Strategic planning requires a “big picture” perspective. Think of looking out of an airplane at 20,000 feet. What do you see? Geography made up of disparate parts—farmland, mountains, rivers, forests, lakes, and more. From this vantage point, you can see that the path from where you are to where you want to go looks different from up there. You can see the shortcuts, vantage points, opportunities, and threats. How does that translate into your daily life? Well, perhaps you’d discover your current business path does not consider a new market niche in which to sell your products or services. Remember how Play-Doh came to be? Perhaps you might discover a looming threat to your existing value proposition—a virtual mountain range that will require a jolt of innovation or product improvement to thwart. Anyone with a Blackberry can attest to how Apple’s iPhone derailed Blackberry’s strategic plans for dominance in the mobile phone arena. Former BlackBerry Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie conceded as much in an interview in 2015, stating that Apple’s iPhone was the cause of the once-great Canadian company’s fall from the pinnacle and represented a devastating blow to Blackberry’s parent company, Research in Motion. Even though BlackBerry tried eventually to compete with the launch of its own touch-screen phone, it had been rushed through product development and was a massive failure. Balsillie admitted, “That was the time I knew we couldn’t compete on high-end hardware.”
Without the ability to deconstruct the marketplace landscape from a high vantage point, these crucial opportunities found amid the nooks and crannies of the geography can be overlooked. There can be no real HyperLeverage without the combination of the 20,000-foot vantage point and the process of assessing its parts and the space between them. If everything just gets lumped together, it’s difficult to understand what part of a business is pulling the cart and which is being pulled.
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