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It’s that start of the year reflective time again, and I’m reminded that the fundamentals of strategic planning come down to two things.
An image of a road to the horizon with text strategy
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It’s that start of the year reflective time again, and a recent conversation reminded me that the fundamentals of strategic planning come down to two things:

  1. Focus on what you do well.
  2. Organize to support your customers.

From that, opportunities will flow, and the right outcomes will be there

For example, we were talking to this large company, one of the big integrators. A couple of years ago they were organized by customer, e.g., Navy, Army, Justice, which meant that there were functional departments (e.g., IT, security, training) in every one of those lanes.

Now they’ve transitioned to being a functional organization, which means that their business units are organized by function. There is an IT unit, a training unit, and so forth. That makes a big difference to how they use sub-contractors, and so in order to do business with them we need to organize and plan our outreach efforts accordingly.


We’ve had many conversations over the years on this blog about focus, and about building relationships that have depth and quality to them. The same principles apply to your capabilities, so that you focus on doing a few things well as a small business and not try to do all the things that come your way to produce revenue.

I know this is easier said than done. Frankly, the hardest thing to do is say ‘No’ to potential revenue when it doesn’t fit.

Focus helps improve the P-win (Probability of Win) because you will have done the work to have a customer relationship, and you’ll have the functional capabilities that match the customer’s need.


But this recent conversation illustrated another aspect of focus – organizational structure (customer versus capability sectors). Quite frankly, this is an age-old dilemma. Customer focus is where you laser in on the relationship and get it really deep, and then there’s a foundation to build. Capability focus is where your SMEs are all working together and humming on the work they do.

I wish there was a single answer that always works for every company. Probably it changes with time and portfolio mix of customers and/or capabilities. The dilemma is that in either case, some set of people will be matrixed across sectors. If you’re capability organized than it’s the customers, and if you’re customer organized it’s the SMEs.

Think about which is right for you, and then stick to your guns.

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