Category Archives: strategy

At a recent McGill alumni breakfast, the guest was Darren Entwhistle, President and CEO of Telus, Canada's newest national telecommunications provider.

A very articulate and focused leader, Entwhistle clearly communicates where he wants to go and his process for getting there. Still "frustrated and bitter" about the federal government's inability to get out of the way for his bid to acquire Bell Canada, he thinks we are handicapping Canadian telecom's from growing into world class competitors. A familiar refrain also from the banking sector and other industries frustrated by regional and provincial barriers.

Entwhistle also described the challenges of ignoring the financial critics and market watchers to stay focused on the internally sound corporate strategy. Short term share prices and industry fads will sway those outside opinions, but a well developed sound strategy will succeed over the long term.

An impressive CEO, Entwhistle obviously inspires confidence in his leadership for the management team, employees and shareholders of Telus. (And he's another McGill MBA - Class of '88.)

I had lunch yesterday with a client and friend who represents for me the essence of entrepreneurship. (He is too modest and discrete for me to mention his name here.)

In my opinion, the essence is to combine the strength of a marketable expertise with the ability to think and act strategically. In his case, he has a very high level of knowledge and experience in the design, build and maintenance of computer data centres. He initally worked for another a specialist in that field then left to start his own business. Over time he successfully positioned his company as the recommended service centre for the industry's leading manufacturer; grew to a size that exceeded his own management abilities; introduced a new partner and executive management team; accepted a new role in the company that leveraged his unique expertise and skills in developing customer relationships; and managed to re-position the company as a major project contractor to design and build large computer room installations from its origins selling and servicing basic hardware.

Many entrepreneurs I work with are equally competent and dedicated to their area of technical expertise but much less capable of managing their business strategically. Others may have the education and experience to manage and think strategically but have little to offer in unique expertise.

Success flows more easily for those that have both.