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Great Execution Won’t Matter Without Effective Strategy – Kaihan Krippendorff, New Orleans ScaleUp Summit

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Tue, May 22, 2018

scaleup-blueThis is not a question of the chicken or egg.

Reality is, “If customers(businesses) don’t nail strategy, won’t matter how well you execute,” Kaihan Krippendorff, speaking at the New Orleans Coaches Scale Up Summit.

Kodak executed well for 124 years until 2012. Their strategy wasn’t effective.

Is your business strategy in jeopardy of being overrun by digital disruption? 

What is your strategy?

There are a lot of businesses that don’t have a differentiation in the marketplace.

If you are hiring the same people as your competitors, then you really don’t have any difference.

OUTthink the Comeptition BookIn Outthink the Competition, Krippendorff notes, “Bruce Greenwald, the Columbia professor known as the guru of value investment gurus, says, ‘In the long-run, everything becomes a toaster.’ The goal is to innovate faster, slow down your competition, or both.”

How’s your business doing?

Are you sure you have the right strategy for moving your business forward?

Positioning Systems’ Strategic Discipline focuses on Execution of the Four Decisions. We’ll help you execute at a very high level, however, if your strategy is wrong, no amount of excellence in execution will matter.

Kaihan Krippendorff’s 8 hours today focused on providing strategies for your business to win, and differentiate your business from your competition.  His ideas revolutionize how to we coach our customers on strategy. Most importantly, they provide differentiating strategies to help you beat your competition  

kaihan-krippendorff-outhink-competition 4TH OPTIONThe 4th Option

In Outthink the Competition, Krippendorff describes this idea for developing a new option, or strategy for your business. It’s a helpful metaphor to describe what innovators do. Kaihan noted when I asked what are the first three options, “Anyone can come up with This, That, or the Other option. But the 4th option is the truly innovative one that no one has thought of or acted on yet.”

There is a point at which others stop thinking. They start repeating themselves.

You will hear people/businesses say, “The way you do this is A, B, C.” or “I know this industry well and what you need to do is 1, 2, 3.”

Innovators recognize at that moment people have stopped thinking and they see an opportunity to think beyond the obvious options and look for a “4th Option”

Uber is a good example of a 4th option.

Here is an example from our workshop today.


Outthinker Process Go Home - Wait - CrossIn 240 BC a general has to cross a river. He arrives at the river with his 50,000 soldiers. He sees his opposition, with an army of 100,000 soldiers is already there to stop him.

The general has basically three options.

Go home – but in 240 BC what are the consequences of failing the emperor?

Wait – He can wait until the opposing forces leave. How does that idea sound?

Cross - If he crosses, how do you feel about his chances? Why did this feel like it’s not the most brilliant idea?

If you know anything about military history then:

  1. Outnumbered 2:1
  2. We are on the offensive – which is much harder than being on the defensive
  3. We are fighting an uphill battle
  4. We are in the river – wet freezing, etc.

What might be some fourth options?
4th Option Solution

outthinker-4th option definitionDid you arrive at a solution?

Here’s the 4th option the general created: They put up a dam, and lured the opposing army to them. Once half get of the opposing forces crossed the now-dry riverbed, the general removed the dam washing half of their opponents away.

Now, you are no longer outnumbered. The General went from offensive to defensive. His forces didn’t have to fight uphill. They turned a situation they couldn’t win, into one they couldn’t lose.  And, they did it without asking for more resources.

How do you find your 4th Option?

One of my customers is going through the Outthinker Process right now.  Three weeks ago, their leadership team came up with 192 different strategies in an effort to discover their fourth option.

Do you believe if your leadership team created 192 ideas for your 4th Option you might be able to discover one that is capable of disrupting your competition?

In two weeks we’ll be looking for 6-10 ideas to develop their 4th option.  We’ve classified them into Winning Moves, Crazy Ideas, Tactics, and Waste of Time.

I’m confident we’ll find several winning moves and possibly one or two “Crazy Ideas” that can be even more impactful than the Winning Moves.

Is it time your business looked for a 4th Option?

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Positioning Systems helps your business grow through the Four Decisions: People, Strategy, Execution, Cash.

Each of the Four Decisions Produces a specific outcome. In our coaching process, we share examples and the definitions of the Four Decisions to ensure our customers remember the value and result each decision produces for your business.












If your business is failing to achieve industry-leading results in any of these areas, that Decision should be your One Thing.

Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing!  To achieve growth, you need to evolve in today’s rapidly changing economic environment.  Find your 4th Option! Are you avoiding a conversation with yourself on how to can successfully grow your business? Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.TomPetersStoryQuote-460wi

Next Blog – New Orleans Scale-Up Summit

Tom Peters keynotes tomorrow’s Scale-Up Summit. I’ll be sharing the best speaker and presentation Thursday and in subsequent blogs when I return.

Topics: OUTTHINK THE COMPETITION, ScaleUp Summit Learning, Outthinker Process, Kaihan Krippendorff, ScaleUp Summit New Orleans 2018

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

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3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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