May 01, 2015 | Bob Hakes

“David’s victory over Goliath is held to be an anomaly. It was not. When underdogs acknowledge their weaknesses and choose an unconventional strategy, they win, even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.” – Malcolm Gladwell, How David Beat Goliath

As I sat and watched this year’s March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament, I was reminded of the connection between winning and creating mismatches or competitive advantage. Coaches obsess over mismatches. They spend every waking moment planning them and the entire game making adjustments to create new ones. Properly leveraging them is the reason why teams like seventh-seed Michigan State got to the Final Four, while top-seed Villanova went home.

The SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis has been around since the 1960’s. Strengths and weaknesses are attributes of the internal organization, while opportunities and threats are attributes of the external environment. When identified properly, these attributes give a business a clear snapshot of their current reality. A snapshot they can then act on.

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Independent, Relevant—and GROWING

March 19, 2015 | Bob Hakes

"What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." -Dwight D. Eisenhower

Short and long-term planning, training and development, and team building—all are activities without pressing deadlines, and it's easy for them to get shuffled to the bottom of your pile of daily to-do's. But these are just the action items that help you and your organization to reach your most significant goals.

Taking the first step is almost always the hardest part—and it helps to have a simple framework to use as a guide.

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