• Shayne Leslie

Week 4 Strategy Series | Refined Focus for Profit Clarity - What in the world...?

While it is a huge risk to take a silo mentality to your business, it is an equal risk to become so overwhelmed with what everyone else is doing.

When considering activity outside your business, there are two levels; Macro level and specific focus level.

Macro level

There are many techniques to view the environment of your business. One of the most popular is subdividing the outside environment into political, economic, social, technological, and legal/regulation. Depending on your business, you may add other categories like ecology and diversity.

The secret in conducting this assessment it to divide your environment analysis into a risk management framework and severity of harm matrix.

You will start to see that what most people may call an obstacle is, in fact, a low priority that is virtually out of the business’ control to influence.

I often hear these headings as ‘threats’; tax, change of government, laws, finding good staff, and social change. They’re big headings, so let’s look at an example.

Megatrends - big future world possibilities

In my book, Foster Future Growth, I wrote about seven megatrends. If you cultivate an appreciation for the larger cycles in the world, you can achieve a better point of focus when considering a long-term strategy.

I’ve divided the seven megatrends into three ‘worlds’ – and I’ve put a copy of these from Foster Future Growth into the Appendix of this book:

  • Natural World: Going, Going… Gone?

  • Man-Made World: Mega Urbanisation, The Silk Highway and the ‘Switzerland’ of Asia, and The Innovation Imperative

  • Individual World: Forever Young, Virtually Here – Connectivity and Convergence, and Great Expectations

Specific focus level

What you may find with the Macro Level analysis is that you’re worrying about aspects of business which you have little control. You should keep in touch, but not at the expense of the Specific Focus level.

What generates Specific Focus is discovered in our other three quadrants; people on the inside and outside, and activity on the inside.

For example, if you have identified that there is a talent gap through your People on the Inside | Organisational Design analysis, you may look at what other similar business are doing to reduce their risk. You may read about best practice and contemporary recruitment or learning and development techniques. You could learn about the employment market and what makes a great employer.

Another example is that, through your Activity Inside My Business you have found that you need to expand your operations. Here, you may research alternative commercial sites, mergers and acquisitions, master planning and working with council. You may research the latest trends in interior design.


If you are in business, you are part of a vibrant economic community.

We can blame macro forces when we hit difficulty in our business. It’s an easy way out as, though we may have a tiny gram of influence, we don’t have a lot of control.

The harder road to take is to look at what we can control - people and activity inside our business - then conduct specific external research that will cause us to change our business behaviour.

Expecting other people or the world to change for our benefit will almost never happen, and lead to disappointment. Basing our changed business behaviour on evidence and accountability will lead to better results.

Remember to write down your compelling findings.



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