Ahead of next February's Chief Strategy Officer summit in Melbourne, we spoke to Wilson Applegarth, Director of Business Analysis and Planning at Warner Brothers Television. With over thirteen years of experience as a business strategist, Wilson is an expert in market analysis and driving change. In his current role he is responsible for a number of different functions for the company's APAC office.
How do you design strategies which have the capacity to adapt in the face of a changing market?
I think the key thing is sustainability, designing strategies that are sustainable and robust enough to withstand changing market conditions, though admittedly this is often easier said than done!. The other thing is constantly reviewing your strategy and associated action plans and adjusting them as necessary to ensure you’re still on track to achieve the overall goal.
What impact has technology had on company strategies?
From a media sector perspective,technology has definitely had an impact on company strategies. Digital technologies have fundamentally changed the way in which people view content, meaning that broadcasters and other platforms have had to widen their services to incorporate digital offerings (e.g. Catch-Up TV and other Video On Demand Services, Digital Video Recorders, Electronic Program Guides etc).From a strategy perspective, while this has enabled diversification into alternative business models for some companies (e.g. Subscription and Transaction models in addition to Advertising) it has also meant an increasing number of large competitors entering the sector (e.g. Netflix, Google, Amazon) resulting in adjustments to incumbent company strategies to try and maintain market share.
What is the link between culture and strategy?
Strategy drives an organization’s focus and direction while culture captures the values, practices and behaviors that influence overall performance. There’s a sporting analogy I quite like which goes along the lines of – “Strategy is the rules you play the game under, Culture influences the spirit in which the game is played”.
Should all companies act like startups? Is it even possible?
I’m not sure it is possible for companies to truly act like startups (I think a salary earner’s mindset will invariably be different from a startup owner who has to deliver to eat!) though I do think the old adage of “If you don’t innovate, you die” is very true, so it is important for all companies to develop, support and foster an environment in which Innovation is actively encouraged and embraced.
What skills does the ideal leader possess?
Over and above the usual drive, experience and core competencies required to be in leadership position in the first place, I think it’s the small things that make an ideal leader – kindness, being appreciative of others, staying calm, saying “thank you”, being open to new ideas, sharing what’s going on, and being able to rise above petty disagreements and just get on with it!