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Hello, Catapults. Lessons from GameStop.

Hello, Catapults. Lessons from GameStop.

"Your customers are searching and exploring without you even knowing about it. And they are redefining your competitive set, too. Welcome to the customer zeitgeist.”Chapter 3 of Differentiated explores the new world of competition based on real-world observations and...

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Customer Mindset Meets Strategy

Customer Mindset Meets Strategy

If you search the term “customer mindset,” you’ll find associations with marketing and customer service. The premise? A deeper understanding of your customer generates increased sales and engagement. Let’s be honest. We want both.  A heartfelt appreciation for...

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Welcome to the Next Normal

Welcome to the Next Normal

We greet 2021 with renewed hope that we can create the change we seek in the world. Welcome to the next normal. If 2020 schooled us in anything it reminded us that an event like a once-in-a-millennia pandemic has the power to distort. And distort it did. We recognize...

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Join me in creating the future of strategy

Join me in creating the future of strategy

Welcome to Strategy Studio! A studio is a space for exploration, for trial and error, and for learning new techniques. It’s a place where breakthroughs occur. Studios invite mess. They give wholehearted permission to create as you explore something for the first time....

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Seeing beyond what is

Seeing beyond what is

Little did I know that a Canvas and Cocktails event would change the trajectory of my life. I joined a group of 40 women for a team-building activity the evening before an all-day retreat. Each of us created a grove of aspens. Here are mine.  I’d been searching...

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Strategy is a State of Mind

Strategy is a State of Mind

PSST tacticians. I’ve got your cheat sheet In all my years of facilitation, I have found two types of people generally comprise any group: tacticians and visionaries. The former greatly outnumbers the latter in most groups. The next time you participate in a group...

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Navigating Certain Uncertainty

Navigating Certain Uncertainty

Why does your organization matter? Why should it matter to me? Can you answer those questions today? Can you anticipate your customer’s answers in six months? Twelve? Eighteen? When I speak with purpose-driven executives and consultants, I hear a common refrain. The...

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Psst. I’ve Been Writing a Book

Psst. I’ve Been Writing a Book

What’s your pandemic passion project? Have you perfected your banana bread recipe? Mastered the art of orchid growing? Bought an above-ground pool for your backyard?Searches for "Banana Bread Demo" have increased by 500% over the last year.Since April, I’ve been...

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What’s true? Differentiation

What’s true? Differentiation

How do you know if something is genuine? Authentic? Novel? Your gut. No, I’m not talking about the pandemic pudge. I’m referring to intuition.  Intuition  - the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Intuition...

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Culture Ate Your Lunch

Culture Ate Your Lunch

We’re familiar with the phrase originated by Peter Drucker—culture eats strategy for breakfast. Time and again we’ve crafted brilliant strategies and perfected plans only to have them crash against the immovable wall of organizational culture. A culture attached to...

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It’s Reinvention Time

It’s Reinvention Time

When I created your Bounce-Back Plan three months ago, one thing was certain: Business model reinvention was a must-do. I knew you’d be tempted to try a few workarounds to extend the life of your existing programs and services. Or you might pause for a bit until the...

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Pep Talks and BFFs

Pep Talks and BFFs

Are you finding yourself feeling a bit sluggish this month? Me too. Just when we hoped to grab onto a portion of our beloved “normal” life, it slips out of grasp, swept up in the Covid-19 resurgence. To be honest, I give myself a pep talk every morning. You too? I...

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Listen for the Signal Through the Noise

Listen for the Signal Through the Noise

Whenever I read a survey, forecast, or study about Covid-19 and its impacts, there is hedging. It’s understandable. No one can predict what the next three or six months might bring, much less the next year.  Here’s what we do know. This is a hot mess. I’m not dissing...

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This isn’t “One and Done”

This isn’t “One and Done”

Like clockwork, towards the completion of a strategic planning process, the fatigue sets in. Your group is tired of it all, especially the never-ending series of meetings, and the constant discussions. When will we decide? What will we do? It feels a bit like...

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Unexpected Partnerships for the Win

Unexpected Partnerships for the Win

The stories are beginning to emerge. Innovation is rising up to address unforeseen challenges and wicked problems.  Organizations are tapping into creativity instead of dismay as they channel energy and investment into novel solutions. They are asking themselves,...

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Avoid the Stale

Avoid the Stale

Goodbye avocado toast. Hello box of cereal. Kitchen staples proclaimed passé are popular again. Seems it’s easy to get your kids to make their own breakfast when the right ingredients are on hand. Plus, $9 goes a lot further when buying cereal and milk. In a few...

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What If You Could Bend the Arc of History?

What If You Could Bend the Arc of History?

Fifty-one times. That’s the number of bullets my Dad’s helicopter took during a single mission in Vietnam. He was so proud of landing safely following the battle. The photo of his commendation is a treasured memory. Remarkably, he was never injured during the height...

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There is No Reset Button

There is No Reset Button

Comfort food and large refrigerators are to blame for the COVID 15—those extra pounds around our collective middles—thanks to Zoom fatigue and step counters that rarely click to 10,000. Virtual runs replace downward dogs as you attempt to re-engage in work, tossing...

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Differentiation To The Rescue

Differentiation To The Rescue

Who knew we’d be cast in The Poseidon Adventure? Our scrappy band of survivors is making its way through the capsized ocean liner, attempting to avoid the steam pipes and all manner of floating debris as we search for the propeller shaft tunnel. It’s dark and...

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TikTok, Hollywood, and the Black Swan

TikTok, Hollywood, and the Black Swan

What were you doing in February? It seems like a lifetime ago.I was facilitating a daylong Strategy Camp with a dozen purpose-driven leaders. A highlight was the all-camp case study. We came together to discover what differentiates Hollywood. It was the perfect topic...

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Get Your Bounce-Back Plan

Get Your Bounce-Back Plan

Are you ready to reopen? Prepped for the pivot? Guess what? Sometime soon stir-crazy people will be ready to engage with your organization. Your future will be guided by macro-level milestones driven by public health indicators and a combination of local, state, and...

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Don’t Stop Believing

Don’t Stop Believing

In late 2018, I realized the eureka moment I experienced over the summer might in fact be something special. As I noodled over the original idea for Differentiation Zone®, I reached out to people who could help me figure out if I really had something worth investing...

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Because I Love You

Because I Love You

Because I love you, I’m nudging you to be more strategic than what feels comfortable today.  Because I love you, I’m reminding you that the essence of strategy is choice. Because I love you, I’m insisting you get clear about strategic differentiation. There is no time...

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Strategy in the Era of Shut. It. Down.

Strategy in the Era of Shut. It. Down.

In times of ambiguity and incomplete information, we need agility and intuition to guide us. Your world is changing by the day—and by the hour.  Here’s your game plan. First, focus on the immediate future in March and April: Theme: Improvise Get tactical about: People...

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Who is Your Nonprofit Customer?

Who is Your Nonprofit Customer?

What a day! Strategy Camp on February 28th took us to Hollywood and back as we explored the power of a customer mindset with a case study about the Oscars. As we embraced the six principles of Differentiation Zone, we realized there is much to learn from industries...

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