• A SMaC recipe is a set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula. The word “SMaC” stands for Specific, Methodical, and Consistent. You can use the term “SMaC” as a descriptor in any number of ways: as an adjective (“ Let’s build a SMaC system”), as a noun (“ SMaC lowers risk”), and as a verb (“ Let’s SMaC this project”). A solid SMaC recipe is the operating code for turning strategic concepts into reality, a set of practices more enduring than mere tactics. Tactics change from situation to situation, whereas SMaC practices can last for decades and apply across a wide range of circumstances.

    — Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Good to Great Book 5) by Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen

  • Trust comes from being a part of a culture or organization with a common set of values and beliefs. Trust is maintained when the values and beliefs are actively managed. If companies do not actively work to keep their Golden Circle in balance — clarity, discipline and consistency — then trust starts to break down. A company, indeed any organization, must work actively to remind everyone WHY the company exists. WHY it was founded in the first place. What it believes.

    They need to hold everyone in the company accountable to the values and guiding principles. It’s not enough to just write them on the wall — that’s passive. Bonuses and incentives must revolve around them. The company must serve those whom they wish to serve it.

    — Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

  • The product vision is what drives and inspires the company and sustains the company through the ups and downs. This may sound straightforward, but it’s tricky. That’s because there are two very different types of product leaders needed for two very different situations:

    • Where there is a CEO or a founder who is the clear product visionary
    • Where there is no clear product visionary—usually in situations where the founder has moved on

    There are two very bad situations you may encounter related to product vision and strategy.

    The first is when you have a CEO who is very strong at product and vision, but she wants to hire a VP product (or, more often, the board pushes her to hire a VP product), and she thinks she should be hiring someone in her own image—or at least visionary like her. The result is typically an immediate clash and a short tenure for the VP product. If this position looks like a revolving door, it’s very possible that’s what’s going on.

    The second bad situation is when the CEO is not strong at vision, but she also hires someone in her own image. This doesn’t result in the clash (they often get along great), but it does leave a serious void in terms of vision, and this causes frustration among the product teams, poor morale across the company, and usually a lack of innovation.

    The key here is that the VP product needs to complement the CEO. If you have a strong, visionary CEO, there may be some very strong VP product candidates that won’t want the position because they know that, in this company, their job is primarily to execute the vision of the CEO.

    — INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love (Silicon Valley Product Group) by Marty Cagan

  • …the process of strategy then reiterates through these steps over and over again, constantly evolving. In other words, strategy is not a discrete analytical event — something decided, say, in a meeting of top managers based on the best numbers and analysis available at the time. Rather, it is a continuous, diverse, and unruly process. Managing it is very hard — the deliberate strategy and the new emerging opportunities fight for resources.

    On the one hand, if you have a strategy that really is working, you need to deliberately focus to keep everyone working together in the right direction. At the same time, however, that focus can easily cause you to dismiss as a distraction what could actually turn out to be the next big thing. It may be challenging and unruly, but this is the process by which almost all companies have developed a winning strategy.

    — How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, et al.

  • Creativity is needed to come up with original ideas, which need to be critiqued, evaluated, and elaborated. Many different possibilities need to be explored before focusing on those that have the most potential value. And it is product teams that are able to combine these different behaviors—and switch between them in flexible ways—that are best suited to succeed in the world in which we now find ourselves.

    — EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products (Silicon Valley Product Group) by Marty Cagan

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