Strategic Clarity

I watched a recording of a webinar that occurred three years ago. The main speaker was Bernard Marr, someone whose posts I read a lot on LinkedIn. The recording is about one-and-a-half hours long. Yes, I watched it all. Twice. My personal summary of it is that we need much more strategic clarity. I would like to share three key points I received first:

  1. KPQsHave Key Performance Questions (KPQs) rather than Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  2. If you need to do customer satisfaction surveys or similar, try the Net Promoter Score by asking questions like “Will you recommend us to others?” on a scale of 1 to 10.
  3. The five steps from going from data to decisions are:
    • Good, intelligent strategy
    • Design KPQs
    • Turn data into insights
    • Communicate comprehensible, visual data
    • Focus on “What needs to be improved?” instead of having a “Review.”

Strategic clarity must first come from a deep understanding of your raison d’etre, the reason for your existence. If your business exists for the purpose of making money, or maximizing profit, for those of you who wince at terms like “making money”, you will get what you declare you want. You will also get the accompanying consequences of focusing on profit. One of those consequences is that people will always try to turn the tables and make a profit out of you! If, however, your goal is to improve the lives and businesses of those whom you impact, then profits will start to chase you, overtake you and tackle you at every corner.

One simple way of doing that is to think about your customer’s customer. How is your supply of goods and services helping your customer make your customer’s customer more successful? If you audit the finances of your customer, are you also able to give him insights into how best he can put his savings back into his business so that he can serve his customers better? If you operate a website that helps business owners obtain high quality goods and services that help them run their own operations hassle-free, do you also organize collaborative networking events for them to get to know each other better so they can increase each other’s value even more? Think about doing similar things for your own business!

Here are the notes I took while watching the video. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did. Connect with Bernard on LinkedIn and give him some appreciation, too! His posts will help you gain strategic clarity from the data insights point of view, at least.

Corollary of the Alaskan Gold Rush. Tons of dirt, very little actual gold.

My thought – the data is like evidence. The interpretation of the evidence is based on worldviews.

Data must be collated, organized, interpreted, in order to produce insights.

Those who collect the data are not necessarily the ones qualified or capable of analyzing and interpreting the data. Corollary is that of scout – S2 Cell – Ops Hub – Decision.

Feedback for people giving talks related to this subject – structure the talks/ workshops for CEOs in such a way that is useful for those CEOs vis-a-vis decision support mechanisms.

The point of KPQs – Key Performance Questions. Corollary – Essential Elements of Information (EEIs), Other Information Requirements (OIRs), Specific Information Requirements (SIRs).

Situation expounded by Bernard Marr: Companies say that their data is linked to their strategy, but in fact they do not have any clear strategy, so that becomes meaningless.

Compliance data does not lead to decisions. Compliance data needs to be taken out. They are needed, but not for strategic decisions.

Indicators are indicators, they are not measures. Collecting data is like having a flashlight in a very dark place. You only have the torchlight for a very short time. You cannot switch on the room lights at all. All you get are partial images. You might see a bed. That does not mean it is a bedroom. It could be a bed show room. It could be a bed in the lobby of a hotel, for whatever reason it is there.

Net Promoter Score: How likely are you to recommend us to others? Scale of 1 to 10.

The data seems to say this. Let’s test that assumption.

Free Big Data tools like Social Mention. Google Analytics, Google Trending,


    1. Good, intelligent strategy
    2. Design KPQs
    3. Turn data into insights
    4. Communicate comprehensible, visual data
    5. Focus on “What needs to be improved?” instead of having a “Review.”
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