Personal Finance

David vs Goliath in business world

goliath

Summary

  • The default position is that, just about every organisation, large and small, has a glorious, almost heavenly mission – vision statement and along with a list of values, that turn out to be remarkably the same.
  • Good news for the underdogs, the David’s, is that this set of words on paper [or in the digital cloud] is not really the company.

Reset, restart, rethink —as many times as you need to. Sometimes the corporate giants who look impossible to compete with have an unnoticed weakness. Competition is fierce. Just about every Kenyan business segment is crowded with all sorts of competitors, all claiming to be the absolute best.

Goliath was a giant. Historians estimate he was probably six foot nine inches, with a bronze helmet and full body armour. He had an attendant who walked before him who carried a large shield.

In the second half of the eleventh century BC, the Israelites were led by King Saul who occupied a mountainous terrain. Their competitors in fighting for dominance were the Philistines, originating from the Mediterranean island of Crete, who had moved to Israel, and settled along the coast.

Goliath shouted out “Choose you a man and let him come down to me. If he prevail in battle against me and strike me down, we shall be slaves to you.

But if I prevail and strike him down, you will be slaves and serve us.” When they heard this, no one in the Israelites camp put in their job application. Who could win against against a terrifying giant?

One young shepherd boy who had come from Bethlehem to bring food to his brothers stepped forward. Despite Saul’s objections, the young man thought he could defeat Goliath.

As opposed to heavy bloodshed on both sides, this ‘single combat’ approach was common in the ancient world. They would choose one warrior to represent each in a duel.

Goliath’s weakness was his inability to manoeuvre, he wasn’t agile. David put a stone in the leather pouch of his sling, and aimed it a Goliath’s exposed forehead. Goliath fell and David ran towards him, took and cut off his head. The Philistines fled.

Not what you say, it’s what you doWhat counts is what happens day to day. That ability to genuinely deliver, to keep the promises.

The default position is that, just about every organisation, large and small, has a glorious, almost heavenly mission – vision statement and along with a list of values, that turn out to be remarkably the same.

Good news for the underdogs, the David’s, is that this set of words on paper [or in the digital cloud] is not really the company.

“When managers complain that their company’s strategy is ineffectual or nonexistent, it’s often because they haven’t quite realized that their strategy is what they’re doing rather than what their bosses are saying.

In nine cases out of ten, the company will have an ambitious ‘strategy statement’ or mission of some kind: ‘We are going to be the best in the world in our industry

and always lead innovation to the benefit t of all of our customers.’ The bosses will have worked hard to come up with such a statement, and it may very well be a praiseworthy one.

But unless it is reflected in the actions of an organization, it is not the organization’s strategy. A company’s

Strategy is what the company’s people are actually doing, not the slogan their bosses articulate.

The point is that everyone needs to connect the dots,” writes Roger Martin, former dean at the University of Toronto’s, Rotman School of Management.

Here are a few fine tuning suggestions on how it is possible to compete with giants, and the hordes of foot soldiers.

Five year plans did not work for nasty autocrat Joseph Stalin who created them and they don’t work for companies today, except perhaps as aspirational documents.

Predictions are out, dashboards are in. In other words, in this time of Corona, unpredictability rules. Focus on the short term, till we get out of this pandemic conundrum.

Goals are key -- having them on an index card [or some digital equivalent] right in front to you is a great practice. Some people write out their goals on a daily basis, read them out loud each day. Implant them in your subconscious mind, that is where the CPU, central processing unit is that determines your mindset and how you show up.

Get in touch with who you are –How do you want to show up at work ? What do you stand for, what are your values ? Why do you do, what you do ? While goals are important you will have trouble achieving them, genuinely being effective, unless your goals are an expression of that inner you.

Your deeper values and goals, what you do on a daily basis have to be in alignment. Getting to this point of congruence is ‘deep work’, not something superficial that you can just tick off. It requires quiet contemplation, genuine deep thought.

Focus on the leverage point items on your to do list. -- Apply the 80/20 rule, 80percent of the impact is going to come from a smaller number of items. Focus on the tasks that are going to make the biggest difference to your performance. In other words: be strategic.

Don’t let things fall through the cracks -- If you write things down on a ‘to do’ list, you have ‘externalised memory’. You have freed up your grey matter to focus on other things, but when look down at the piece of paper there is no way you can forget.

Scratch off things that are no longer relevant, but follow up, get complete, be conscientious. It’s all those little things that you don’t think your business partners notice, but they do.

Raise your standards – for all of us, with time, entropy, disorder sets in, and we let things slide downhill. Just like a high end five star hotel has clear service standards that all staff understand, it helps to think through the level of quality you deliver.

Yes, the giants may preach quality, but the reality on the ground is often quite different.

Be conscientious, know what you are going to pay Zen like attention to.