February 9, 2018

Behind the trees


Everyone loves a summary.

Chomping 214 slides of market research down to the five key points. The production report that distils a month’s effort into a column of outputs. The beautifully balanced P&L, the confident two page labelled Executive Summary, the strategy-on-a-stick slide deck.

The promise: and easy way to digest the essential facts.

The problem: all the detail is lost. You miss the killer quote (ignored by the summariser) on slide 94, the systemic problem hidden behind the glossy totals in the spreadsheets, the key fact lost in the exec summary, the core weakness behind the strategy deck.

There are two ways around the problem:

– Do the hard yards: read the whole report, dig behind the spreadsheets.

– Ask the difficult questions: the what and when and why and where and who and how, mine down to the bedrock.

Skippy strategy: Look behind the trees.