And just like that...we wrapped up our 11th LDP class. The final class before “Ted Talks”. Looking back on this past year, it’s remarkable how much material we’ve covered. Our 11th class focused appropriately on strategy.
We started off with a brief history of Markon’s strategy — from the original “Markon 100” (reaching the first 100 employees milestone) to our current “Journey to $100M”. While the final result you see may appear to be just one sentence, choosing a corporate strategy is not quite as simple. With endless factors for which to account, the strategy is carefully considered and distilled into one critical summary, a north star for all. It is not a task to be taken lightly.
One memorable quote during our discussions was, “Effectiveness is not random, it begins with a clear vision, mission, and goals.” Without those, how successful can you really be? In order to identify a clear strategy, we learned there are a variety of strategic models to consider. One such model discussed, focuses on three key areas:
- Environmental Business Scans
Another strategic model had a more illustrative narrative, red ocean vs. blue ocean. Red oceans are those companies competing in existing market spaces. By exploiting existing demand, they beat competition. Hammer, meet nail. These aggressive companies turn the ocean blood red, hence "red ocean". Blue ocean companies create in uncontested market spaces. They make competition irrelevant and they invent to capture new demand. They have limitless potential, much like like a vast blue ocean.
Once we covered the conceptual models, we moved onto the practical, the 5 Levers exercise. This exercise measures the following:
Each of us had to measure where we thought the “as is” and the “to be” states were on a chart. We got to see everyone’s perception of Markon's current pulse — where the company is today and where it ought to be, sparking some very productive conversations.
The final executive interview was with Drew Thompson. As the head of a very successful business development team, it was exciting to learn more about him and what he does. It was a fantastic interview and very informative. We were able to learn the in-depth workings of the proposal process.
As is the tradition, Steve asked his patented question, “Do you equate your success to luck or hard work?”. Drew answered definitively, “It’s horsepower...hard work and sweat. The key ingredients of Markon success are smart people with a lot of horsepower.”