Strategygram: The Three Monkeys of Strategy

We are all familiar with the three monkeys advising against evil — ‘See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.’ — but what do the three monkeys of strategy advocate?

Unlike the three monkeys who recommend passive avoidance, the three monkeys of strategy urge action: ‘See Unusual. Hear Uncut. Speak Uncommon.’

When you see unusual, you see opportunity — in situations such as:

What the customer can accomplish, even if the customer doesn’t realise that — as smartphone makers saw.

What the customer might outsource — as task-runner companies saw.

What the customer wants to use but not own — as ride-sharing companies saw.

What the customer doesn’t want to pay so much for — as companies providing home-stay rentals for vacation travellers saw.

What structural changes presage — as issuers of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens saw.

What underlying continuity signals — as ecommerce companies focusing on the trifecta of better choice, greater speed, and lower prices saw.

What technological progress enables — as electric vehicle manufacturers saw.

What value-arbitrage generates — as apps for buying and selling previously-owned products saw.

What ‘average’ does to mask outliers — as clothing companies for plus-sized people saw.

What aggregation instead of segmentation does for scaling up — as crowd-sourcing platforms saw.

What uncoupling does — as cloud-infrastructure companies who opened up their in-house facilities saw.

What hybrid choices instead of binary ones allow — as edtech companies saw.

What long-term consequences flow from short-term actions — as carbon-footprint-conscious companies saw.

You hear uncut when you listen to information that is undiluted by intermediaries and unvitiated by assumptions; when you tune in to the subtext and what is felt but not said; when you heed disconfirming evidence; when you give audience to diverse viewpoints sourced through inclusive outreach; when you are all ears for the devil’s advocate rather than the echo chamber; when you elevate the conversation with transformative listening; when you harken to the quiet voice within and not just the loud voices without.

You speak uncommon when you are refreshingly open and authentic, resonating with what people feel privately but were until now hesitant to admit publicly; when you reframe matters to enlighten and encourage people; when you champion causes for the larger good instead of a secret private benefit; when you speak through actions that matter and not words that don’t; when your actions bespeak what is right even if no one else will know or care.

This, then, is the way of the strategist: See Unusual. Hear Uncut. Speak Uncommon.

Sattar Khan

This Strategygram titled ‘The Three Monkeys of Strategy’ is part of the series I’ve created where each Strategygram condenses one strategic thought into one image.

The series is a visual guide to strategic thinking and provides handy image prompts for brand strategy workouts.

#strategygrams #visualthinking #strategy #brandstrategy #branddifferentiation #brandexperience #clarity #visualstorytelling #story #strategist

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Global Brand Strategy Consultant ★ Creator of Strategygrams. I help executives develop compelling brand propositions and strategy presentations.

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Sattar Khan

Sattar Khan

Global Brand Strategy Consultant ★ Creator of Strategygrams. I help executives develop compelling brand propositions and strategy presentations.

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