Previously on Totally, Totally, Global Inc. Sales are down. Morale is low. Strategy has been neglected.
But there was so little I could do now apart from try and get the desperate senior team to think about 12 months from now. Hard to do when the quarterly figures were so depressing, shareholders were shouting NOW and aspiring bloggers wanted another story of death and destruction in the technology arena.
I did as I always did in such situations: I left my desktop-both physical and virtual-looking busy, I left my sweater for the chilly morning fixie bike ride over the back of the chair, grabbed my current Moleskine and propelling pencil and headed out. The nearest good coffee shop was always busy being an overflow meeting room for those from Totally so I walked an extra 5 minutes to Caffeine Molecule, in my view the perfect coffee shop. This had great coffee and was quieter. I ordered a doppio that they promised to bring over and I slipped back outside and sat at one of the small tables. The still early morning spring sunshine was just perfect and reviving. I flattened a double page spread and rapidly did two things: a SWOT and a 5 Force analysis: good traditional MBA stuff. I had a gut feeling of what was wrong but I would eventually need to argue this well. The matrices flowed.
The doppio arrived. I took two short strong sips and following the schematic analysis started to summarise in narrative format our problem: I needed ultimately to be able to express our headaches in a story that would grab attention; a story that was a simple transmittable meme. We had dominated the personal productivity software market for a long time. We’d been slow to get to the mobile space. And we were slow to get to the place Amazon was aiming to own: the home. We were doing me-too. We were copying. We needed to get ahead of the market. I took two more sips, stretched out my legs and looked out at the horizon: with all the buildings in the way it was too short. Just like ours; that was a useful metaphor: we were forever caught in that trap. Why was that? I jotted notes in sentences which could perhaps be later wrapped into some kind of extended story to the board: a saga, that was what I needed. A saga which captured the current perils but envisioned hope and heroism. Homer: bring it on.