Strategy Simplified

What sets great business leaders apart from merely good ones? What will cause us, as we navigate the daunting gap between good and great, to succeed or fail?

Honestly, I don’t know. Books have been written on the topic, and it could be anything from a force of personality, to IQ, to EQ, to resilience, to strategy – and is probably some cocktail of all of those things.

But like any good consultant, when I don’t know something, I start with a hypothesis. My hypothesis is that more than “all the things,” the mark of great business leaders is simplicity – a focus on 1-2 main drivers of success.

planning steps infographic


I have observed many businesses – I’ve advised them, worked for them, and even built them. I’ve been through business transformations, strategy projects, and multiple conversations about organizational change.

I’ve been thinking recently about common themes across all of these businesses. What drives multinational businesses to the point of crisis? Why do they spend millions of dollars having consultants answer questions they should be able to answer themselves?

An insight – which may well be THE insight – came to me this year when I was teaching at Harvard Business School. The group was smart, high EQ, dynamic, and we were racing through the material. It was a sunny Sunday, we were working through case structures, and I was trying to drive it home. So I made it real. 

“Amazon bought Whole Foods over the summer. Why did they do that?” The conversation exploded. Lots of theories were stated. But then I brought the group back to focus using a simple consulting framework – profitability. We worked through the four buckets. All of them mattered, but only one REALLY mattered. It was a HUGE lightbulb moment.

That’s why I’m inviting you to come along on this journey of exploration with me. Our team created Strategy Simplified to offer the best of our Bootcamps and Black Belt programs to a small group audience on a monthly basis.

Every month, we’ll dive into a recent real-world business decision, and break down the business rationale (or lack thereof) behind it. In creating the first part of the series, I realized again – really simple business principles underly massive real-world decisions. Here’s how it works:

  • You get access to a video about the business decision on the 1st of the month, along with my initial thoughts and a challenge to present a 1-slide framework identifying the key driver.
  • The 1-slide framework is due on the 2nd Friday of the month.
  • On the 2nd Saturday of each month, we will discuss the case on a group webinar. We’ll pick the 2 best frameworks from you to highlight on the webinar. I’ll also share the framework I created. If you can’t make the webinars, don’t worry – you’ll have access to the recording.
  • After the webinar, I’ll release a video where I dive into my explanation of the business principles at work behind the decision.

The first 4 cases we’ll be examining are:

  • Nestle’s $425M acquisition of a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee
  • Apple’s decision to release the iPhone 8 and iPhone X simultaneously
  • How Israeli ride-sharing startup Via is competing with Uber and Lyft in the Washington, DC market
  • Amazon’s $13.7B acquisition of Whole Foods

We’ve had so much demand for real-life business conversation over the last 2 years, and finally, we’re cutting through the fluff to build your intuition on what really matters.

Access to the entire series is only $39/month, and sign-ups close Friday, December 1, 2017. Join us on the journey to deeper business understanding.

:)Jenny Rae