Ideas, strategies and tactics 

The Strategy Guy's Blog




leadership strategy Dec 01, 2022

I love presenting to community leaders across the regions. They are frequently beautiful living examples of courage, resilience, hospitality and kindness.

This month was no exception. Petra Van Beek invited me to speak to 70 business leaders in Gympie. Gympie's Leaders were such an enthusiastic audience. As a speaker, walking into a room full of people who already feel safe with each other and are ready to learn and have fun makes my job super easy.

A few days later, I received a kind testimonial from Petra:

'Our community leaders appreciated John Hale’s Strategic Mindset Presentation. John gave our members a series of simple yet powerful ways to grow and scale their businesses in new ways. We all learnt the absolute importance of making strategic choices to future-proof our businesses.

I recommend John as a highly professional speaker who provides a great mixture of entertaining stories, empowering ideas and thoughtful audience engagement and interaction.'

To succeed...

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strategy Nov 01, 2022

This month I am a proud Dad :-)

My beautiful, intelligent daughter Claire received her Master of Teaching degree from Deakin University. Claire has now joined the 325,000-strong Deakin Alumni community. The same community I joined in 1986 when only 3000 Alumni existed.

During the ceremony, the occasional speaker shared four strategies with graduates:

1. Embrace all your failures and learn from them.
2. Choose a job you love and keep looking til you find it.
3. Remember to take time to celebrate each of life’s achievements
4. Use your degree to do great things

Good advice for post-grads as well as grads!

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leadership strategy Sep 30, 2022

This month I will commence writing my next book, 'The Strategic CEO', for CEOs or those on the path to becoming one. To succeed, CEOs need to embrace several paradoxes, which I will unpack in the book.

Strategic CEOs are north star leaders who embody twelve extraordinary habits.

Strategic CEOs actively steer their organisations. Strategic CEOs don't get stuck in a Boardroom or behind a desk. They repeatedly engage with the business, its employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders. For CEOs, their time, not money, is the scarcest resource they have to ensure their firm grows profitably. 

Demands on CEOs come from many quarters. If a CEO falls behind, they are forced to shift from being proactive to being reactive. Proactivity creates a virtuous cycle with many opportunities. Reactivity can create a vicious cycle, with increasingly riskier fires for a CEO to put out.

To mitigate the risks of tripping up, lagging behind or falling into a reactive spiral, CEOs need to think...

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innovation strategy Aug 31, 2022

Hot on the heels of a recent hybrid presentation last week to sixty or so startups at Brisbane’s Innovation Hub, I was invited back to speak to forty scale-ups this week.

I shared that scaling is an elusive and dangerous pursuit. During my hour-long keynote, I shared that in my thirty-five years as an early-stage investor, strategic adviser and business educator, I have gained powerful insights from businesses and organisations around the globe. I have met with and listened to some of the most successful founders and CEOs and some of the least successful. This accumulated wisdom allows me to share the strategies I believe every leader must cultivate to excel in business.

Regarding scale-up, I shared the six-step strategic mindset process from my best-selling book, The Strategy Book. At each of the six steps, Sense, See, Connect, Plan, Focus and Move, I interposed ten must include activities to scale successfully.


I. Where you play matters - some industries are more...

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strategy Jul 31, 2022

As a business grows, the number of decisions needing to be made can grow exponentially! Decision overwhelm is often a reason why many entrepreneurial ventures only grow to a certain size.

Having a strategy helps. Strategy reduces the number of decisions and helps us make them in plenty of time. 

Branding helps too! Branding provides focus.  

When supporting clients with their strategy, I often look to see if the client’s brand is aligned with their emerging strategy.

There are often one of four messages behind a brand.

North Stars

North Star brands can be helpful when a business creates its first product or service. A North Star brand is your raison d’être or reason for being. In many ways, Coca-Cola’s North Star was and still is its unique bottle shape and feel. 

How to Use and Buy Us

How to Use and Buy Us brands show prospects and clients how to use and buy from a business. They can help attract an early customer base. Coca-Cola’s used...

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strategy Jun 30, 2022


Our exponentially exploding world of connected technology is driving society faster and faster, creating ubiquitous Bull Markets and Governing our lives in new, unexpected ways.


Faster chips result in reduced learning curves; Hyper connectivity results in more rapid global scaling; AI-enabled just-in-time supply chains mean zero wait times for many goods; There clouds and clouds of vulnerable data we could ultimately lose or have stolen; Data-driven dynamic competitive pricing models are fierce; and millions of crooked cyber actors are popping up all over the place. 

Bull markets are everywhere.

Technology brings rapid change. Technology creates bull markets for hosts of things. e.g. AfterPay Apps, Crypto Currencies, Cheaper Trading platforms, Fake News, Viral Videos, Vaccine Passports, etc.

Technology is neither good nor bad. Nor is technology neutral.

Technology also brings rapid and unexpected dislocations to our social order. To mitigate this, we need to...

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strategy Jun 01, 2022
What could your business learn from French History?

The seventeen-century marked a turning point in French military and naval strategy. In my books and during my talks, I often glorify Britain’s success over the French in the Battles of Crecy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). During the Italian wars (1494-1559), the French paid Swiss mercenaries to fight for them. During the Wars of Religion (1562-1598), French Protestants, lacking the crown’s armies and royal taxation, formed small, more agile units, much like Ukrainian forces against the Russian military today. 

Massive squares of 2,000 men were traded for single rotating lines only ten soldiers deep. Once a French soldier’s weapon was fired, that soldier fell to the back of the line to reload and be ready to fire once he advanced to the front again. 

By the mid sixteen hundreds, the discipline required by these smaller units gave birth to drilled and constantly trained standing armies that could be used to...
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strategy May 01, 2022

I am honoured to MC the Queensland Government M4G’s 20th Birthday Celebratory Event at Parliament House in May.

At times mentoring means helping to solve the riddles faced by businesses and their owners. So in line with the mentoring theme, I found a riddler hat and cane to match.

The MC role is often about entertaining and informing the audience. MC's need to set the tone, narrate briefly, control the event, answer back hecklers and announce arrivals in a way that engages the audience and inspires the next speaker to the stage. 

#growth #mentoring 
#queensland #government 

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strategy Apr 01, 2022
I am excited to be partnering with QUTeX - the university for the real world, with this month’s launch of The Strategic Accountant Master Class. 
As a practising accountant, in this 20-hour self-paced online master class, you will be challenged to understand how and in which ways your firm adds value to your clients. 
You will learn ways to re-invent your firm’s value proposition to better deal with the disruption faced across the industry and better understand why automation and artificial intelligence is destroying the traditional compliance-based service firm.
At the conclusion of this master class, you will have developed the ability to understand and apply the skills required to:
>  Design your firm's value drivers through three value-driven and time-based conversations.
>  Build capabilities of Digital Acumen, Ethics and Integrity, Critical Thinking and Judgement, and an Adaptive Mindset.
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strategy Mar 01, 2022

Shakespeare wrote that all the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players.

Once a business connects itself to the information superhighway or Internet, it places itself in plain sight on the world stage. Seven bad actors wait in the wings, ready to play their part in the story of an unsuspecting business. Some bad actors appear early when a business is taking off and cyber awareness is not developed. Others appear later, once a business is mature, and hard-won business assets are visible to all seven actors. 

The seven bad actors are identity thieves, foreign intruders, extortionists, blackmailers, terrorists, bad apples and rotten eggs. With the right knowledge and regular investment in cyber-security, a firm can keep all seven bad actors at bay.

Identity thieves are the most common bad actors in our hyper-connected world of login names, passwords, credit cards and bank accounts. Dens of identity thieves aim to obtain your personal or financial...

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