Our performance as a team within the Mikes Bikes competition has been nothing less than a rollercoaster experience. We faced heavy debts and were near take-over last rollover, however last week’s decisions proved to be in our favour as we began to see an upturn through our intense investment in addressing the more finer/granular details. However this weeks rollover showed that we neither dropped nor improved. On it’s own, if this had occurred earlier in the competition this wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, as it would mean we were performing at a stable rate. However this late into the competition, personally I would like to be seeing a much larger growth in order to be finishing on a positive and high profit note.
Due to our heavy debt we had to follow several tactics and re-adapt our strategy to cut costs and the decisions we made had to ‘cut our cloth to fit’ our current state. While this worked for our last rollover, we need to be doing something differently now, because we (and particularly myself, as the CFO) are still concerned about our finances and avoiding making any losses/falling into debt again. As a result we did select which areas of the company to slash costs more so than others in order to enhance the momentum of our company in order to outperform others in our market - one of the strategies that Baghai, Smit and Viguerie (2009) suggest to follow. However after reading this weeks reading, I feel as though we focused heavily upon how to improve our company without considering the weaknesses of other companies to capitalise on (another strategy the reading suggests). In hindsight, had we taken this into account, we may have increased our SHV more substantially than we have this rollover.
Next week is our final singular rollover (with the following weeks rollover being back-to-back) so the decisions we make this week need to be as financially sustainable as possible and also to place in a good competition position without our market in order to seize the sales we need to place us higher up on the leader board. We can look at some of the strategies the reading has suggested such as re-allocating resources (more than just re-allocating our financial investments in my opinion) but also to re-allocate our priorities to increase the growth rate of the company - a concept by Davenport suggesting that we align our focus to the correct priorities in order to also come back to the core strategies. (2006) For example, if we invested a vast amount of money in advertising last rollover, we could look at investing a vast amount of money in distribution this rollover to make use of that generated interest in our products. Davenport, on the other hand, suggests that by investing in a strong culture (a soft skill) will result in strengthening the organisations values. In the case of my team, we have grown through our team conflicts to have created a culture we are all satisfied, comfortable and competitive in (ideal for these final weeks), we only need to ensure to continue this positivity and strength rather than to begin breaking down and blaming anyone or anything. This leads back into another strategy Davenport outlines which is the importance of having the correct people in the correct roles in order to be effective in what they do. Unfortunately this was never really much of a choice for us in the beginning of the semester as we were placed into roles based on our SHV in SoloMike. It is important to point out then, for future note, that a persons interest may not necessarily relate to the strengths a person has. For example, I am the CFO for my company, and while I have learnt an incredible amount through this semester regarding Finance, and general business acumen, I would still never consider as having an average competency when it comes to math of any nature (and am reminded of the times I performed miserably at Statistics.... ). To keep this particular strategy of 'people in the optimal roles' it is important to remember when allocating people (and resources!) to consider the entire strategy, the end goal, the dynamic of the team, the values and the strengths and weaknesses of all aspects in play. Understandably not all of this information can be provided on a simple CV in the beginning of the semester but perhaps in the future, that CV can include an element of Belbin testing to enhance the accuracy of placing students in teams and roles effectively.
Ultimately, our team continually mentions and attempts to go back to how we can create a "blue ocean strategy" however we always seem to fall short on ideas in how to differentiate ourselves in the market. By this point in the competition, we really can't afford to be making several risky decisions, especially as we do not have the cash. Instead we should aim to address the open niches of weakness other companies present and re-allocate our funds to allow ourselves to capitalise on these weaknesses, whether this is their low-priced bikes, their reduction of SCU, their increase in Dividends or anything else. If we can successfully do this, we should be able to place ourselves in a position of relative power next rollover which will enable us to launch our final strategies towards (hopeful) success.
Baghai, M., Smit, S., & Viguerie, P. (2009). Is your growth strategy flying blind? Harvard Business Review, 87(5), 86—96.
Davenport, T. H. (2006). Competing on analytics. Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 98--107.