About Ben

Hi. This is Ben Bartlett here and thanks for visiting my website. If you’re here for the first time, then the three questions you probably most want to be answered are:

“What is this website all about and why should I browse it?”
“Who is Ben M. Bartlett?”
“Why should I pay attention to him?”

Good news. On this page you get answers to these questions in a simple FAQ format.

So what is this site and your work all about?

In a nutshell, my work and this website are dedicated to helping you solve your biggest problems, accelerate performance and achieve your goals.  My specialty? Strategy. More specifically, I help clients to analyze, develop and skilfully execute good strategies, resulting in improved performance and success. In terms of an overall framework, my work is best summed up with this equation:

success-equation-417

Yes, it’s true.  The formula for achieving success and high performance all boils down to you applying two simple steps:

  1. Developing a good strategy 
  2. Skillfully executing your strategy

So how do you help clients to plan and execute winning strategies?

First and foremost I am a strategist, which is defined in the Collins dictionary as “Someone who is skilled in planning the best way to gain an advantage or to achieve success.”

To add to the definition, a strategist wears a number of hats including analyst, troubleshooter, brainstormer and planner.  And, my role primarily involves:

    • Getting clarity around a client’s problem or situation
    • Gathering relevant information and market intelligence
    • Analyzing client challenges, problems, brands and overall performance using design thinking principles
    • Identifying points of competitive advantage and weakness
    • Brainstorming, creating and developing high-potential products and brands
    • Designing sales and marketing systems, organisational structures and monetisation strategies.
    • Creating OnePager strategic plans.  Far easier to understand and more powerful than traditional plans, OnePager plans visually outline your strategy on a single A3-A0 sheet of paper

As a strategist, I am a pioneer and high-level practitioner of design/visual thinking which is defined as, “a method for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions…Design thinking encourages divergent thinking to ideate many solutions (possible or impossible) and then uses convergent thinking to prefer and realize the best resolution.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_thinking)

Design thinking applies a creative approach to strategy, using visual tools and models such as sketches, matrices, prototypes, storyboards, graphics and diagrams to improve analysis, decision-making and planning.  Furthermore, design and visual thinking is taught at prestigious universities such as Harvard and practiced at major companies like Google and PepsiCo.  In fact, interest in design thinking has exploded in the last ten years, as evidenced by the growth of the topic’s Google search results:

Google Trends design thinking 2

Next, as a strategy designer, I work with business owners to develop commercially valuable intellectual assets.  These are the assets most responsible for business growth and include business models, product and product extensions, strategic brands including positioning and naming, sales and marketing systems, and other forms of intellectual property and intangible assets.

And thirdly, I am a strategic advisor and coach. In this role, I advise business owners and boards on all aspects of strategy and help them to develop and improve strategic direction using the methodology and processes I’ll introduce shortly.  The role also includes coaching and training business owners and executives to improve the Strategic High Performance Skills.

As well, I am a writer, public speaker and educator on strategy, high performance and visual thinking and planning.

On this website you can read more than 100 lessons and articles I’ve written on developing and executing strategy, which teach my equation in simple, no b.s terms.  Put another way, my lessons are stripped of the business school jargon and corporate-speak that some other consultants, academics and corporate types like to use. Let them use all the fancy words. I like to write and speak in plain English.  Aside from the lessons and articles I’ve written for this site, you can subscribe to my Success Strategies e-newsletter, which is sent to subscribers by email.

So, in terms of an overall summary of what I do, this graphic explains all.

 

What is your methodology?

As you know, a methodology is a system of methods and principles for performing a task and getting things done.  Put simply, it outlines the “what we do”, “why we do it”, and “how we do it” of a task or activity.  

Everybody who performs work has a methodology…dentists, teachers, plumbers, professional athletes. A methodology is reflective of one’s education, skills and experience, and ideally, should be well-documented and easy to explain.   

So with those thoughts in mind, let me briefly outline my methodology. 

As outlined earlier, my work makes heavy use of design/visual thinking and planning, for which I have created the Visual Strategy System, which comprises more than 100 strategy visuals and decision-making tools. These include SWOT, 80/20, Probability and Risk/Reward analysis visuals.  It also includes my OnePager planning templates.

I’ve already introduced the Success Equation, which states that A Good Strategy x Skilful Strategy Execution = Success.  So how can this equation be applied to business success?

First of all, let’s do away with all the complexity and simplify business success down to its very essentials. in business your strategy development and execution must be centered upon what I call the “Big Three” strategic business activities, shown here:

big-three-417

 

It’s true.  At the heart of business success lies these three activities, namely:

  1. Creating awesome brands
  2. Generating high-value brand awareness
  3. Monetising your brands

Therefore, on a daily basis, these three activities need to be front and center of your strategy and execution. 

Now, in terms of an actual growth strategy, the framework I’ve developed and recommend to clients is the Growth Strategies Model shown here:

bartlett-growth-strategies-model

Highlighted above are three distinct, yet interrelated growth strategies.  To briefly explain, the Brand Differentiation strategy is where you create and monetise awesome brands that are attractive to your target audience and have high barriers to imitation.  With the Brand Multiplication strategy you grow your brands into new extensions, channels and markets.  And, with the Asset Diversification strategy you leverage your growth and success by diversifying into a variety of asset classes.

Finally, to put all the pieces of the puzzle together is the step-by-step Strategic Growth Blueprint, which clients use to develop and execute their growth strategy:

strategic-growth-blueprint-517

 

What are your qualifications and background?

My work combines a 20 year strategy and coaching background in business, high performance sport and ecclesiastical/community leadership with an education that includes a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) with an “A” average from the University of Waikato. And, during this time I have:

    • Developed strategies and strategic plans for businesses in various industries including insurance, mortgages, manufacturing, technology, retail, education, investment, health and beauty, and consulting. Services provided to corporates and SMEs including Tower, AdvisorGroup, National Bank,  Harvey Furnishings, Diners Club, Fresh to Go, Red Cross, SC Johnson and ING.
    • Formulated strategies that have helped to save businesses from competitive and economic pressures such as the global financial crisis.  Strategies included organisational restructuring, changing product mix, fixing sales systems and rebranding.
    • Helped to grow multi-million dollar businesses and products from launch and early start-up phase.
    • Created a number of million dollar, high-performing brands, sales and marketing campaigns across multiple media including print, radio, telephone and direct mail. My work has featured at industry conferences in New Zealand and Australia, and has even been subject to legal action being taken against others who have stolen my ideas, concepts and plans. (Although it is frustrating and annoying, in some ways intellectual property theft is a back-handed compliment). Marketing Association award winner.
    • Re-engineered sales and marketing systems that have increased sales closing rates, grown gross margins and improved both sales transaction value and frequency.
    • Troubleshooted and turned around firms with toxic organizational cultures, and in the process helped them to boost morale and reduce staff turnover.
    • Helped business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders to get more work-life balance and control over their personal lives.  This includes working with them to improve personal relationships, physical and mental health, and self-discipline.

running

Complementing my work is a deep interest in mental performance, nutrition and fitness.   This interest reflects my view that our two most important assets are 1. Our minds. 2. Our bodies.

To ensure our bodies and minds perform to their optimum levels it’s important that we implement an effective strategy integrating nutrition, physical exercise and mental skills training.

As a sports and fitness coach – working mainly on a volunteer basis with youth – I’ve been successful in producing championship-winning sports teams in rugby, cricket and touch rugby, assisting others to transform their health and fitness levels, and helping them to overcome their fears and develop self-confidence.  Some have also gone on to represent New Zealand in their chosen sports.

On a personal level, as a masters athlete I am a nationally-ranked touch rugby player and a former New Zealand touch representative. As well I compete in short-distance athletics and strength events and have run 3 marathons. Aged in my 50s, I am fitter and faster than most blokes half my age, and can still compete with a number of the high school seniors I coach – some of whom are representative players – in standardized fitness tests.

With regards to family I’ve been married for 30 years, have three sons and enjoy supporting my sons in their academic, career and sporting pursuits. Our family ethnicity is a mix of New Zealand Maori, English and Filipino…with a bit of Spanish as well.

Finally, on occasion I can be seen accompanying my wife on her shopping trips, helping her out in her vege garden and regularly playing with – and against – her on the badminton court.

Family-500

*In business a control is a sales and marketing system that is highly effective in generating increases and improvements in key metrics such as brand awareness, leads generated, sales revenue and profitability. A control can comprise positioning and branding concepts, sales scripts and presentations, multi-media advertising campaigns (tv, radio, print, social media, online advertising etc) and event marketing. A control is one of the most valuable intangible assets/intellectual property a growth-oriented business can possess.