Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” – Know more about this return-driven insight! [Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy]

October 10, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

As someone who’s been in the business and consulting industry for 30+ years now, one of the frameworks I truly find effective is Return Driven Strategy (RDS). 

This pyramid-shaped framework has 11 tenets and 3 foundations. When applied properly, these principles can help firms achieve true wealth and value creation. 

Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo explained RDS in detail in the book, “Driven.” 

In today’s article, let’s focus on the fourth tenet of the framework. 

Continue reading to know the importance of this tenet and how it can positively impact your business strategy. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy 

In our past “Return Driven Strategy” articles, we discussed the first 3 tenets of the Return Driven Strategy (RDS) framework: 

  • Ethically Maximize Wealth 
  • Fulfill Otherwise Unmet Customer Needs 
  • Target and Dominate Markets 

In these topics, we shared how one tenet impacts another and why businesses should apply these in their strategies to achieve high performance. 

Today, we’ll move on to the fourth tenet of RDS: 

Deliver offerings

Photo from transformative.nz

Tenet four is the first of three “Competency Tenets” in the RDS framework. Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo describe these tenets as necessary principles in providing offerings that fulfill the unmet needs of appropriately targeted customer groups. 

In particular, “Deliver Offerings” is about the effectiveness of a firm in providing goods, services, and other intangibles to achieve the higher tenets

Let’s talk about this topic in the context of business strategy… 

Planning vs. Implementation 

If you were asked which is more important to business success, what would you choose? 

The strategy itself and the planning process? 

… or the implementation of that strategy? 

According to Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo, this ongoing debate among management teams has become the subject of a few books relevant to the subject. Lately, the trend seems to lean towards implementation, as popularized in the statement: 

“It’s the execution that matters.” 

Here’s the thing: In reality, the question as to which between planning and implementation is important is problematic. 

Think about this: How could a business be successful if it executes well on a poor strategy? 

Clearly, great implementation of a bad plan could be just as troubling as poor implementation of a great plan

The proper balance between planning and implementation ensures a team is firing on all cylinders—they know what they are doing, how they should do a particular task, and why they are doing it. 

Without good planning beforehand, a team might go through the motions without giving much thought to the big picture of a business strategy. 

As Ken Favaro, a Senior Partner with Booz & Company, said: 

“You need a good strategy to have good execution. Yes, having a good strategy alone isn’t enough to win, but your ability to execute well depends on how good your strategy is and how well it’s understood by everyone who makes major decisions for your business.” 

Meanwhile, good execution spells out what needs to be done to fulfill a particular strategy. Some excellent strategic plans fail because not all members of a team are committed to the strategy in the first place. Without a team’s total commitment, a firm may find itself stuck in place. 

The bottom line? 

The right business strategy is a balanced combination of thoughtful planning and effective execution

High-performing firms see planning and implementation as different yet equally important focal points in the action of achieving the higher tenets of RDS. These businesses make sure their implementation activities are adequately aligned with their planning activities—in the right ways and at the right times. 

If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail 

“Anyone can come up with an idea, but it’s the execution that really matters.” 

Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo say this statement highlights the importance of ideas and actions TOGETHER. Unfortunately, this concept can be taken to extremes, implying the creation and implementation of a plan are distinctly separate. 

What’s more? 

The belief that planning and execution occur in a linear fashion—like “step 1” and “step 2”—is misguided. For Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo, firms with mediocre or poor results share a common mindset that businesses first strategize, then execute those strategies. 

Example: While there’s nothing wrong with defining your five-year plan at your company’s annual retreat or meeting, the problem lies in the timing of planning and implementation. 

Okay, you have your five-year plan right there… so does that mean during those five years, you won’t do any planning, just execution of your strategies? 

That sounds unreasonable! 

Given the rate of changing business landscapes, how much confidence could you have in executing a strategy created years ago? 

Clearly, a constantly changing business environment also calls for a constant assessment of the plans or strategies you have in place. 


According to Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo, firms exhibiting high returns have a different and healthy planning culture. 

As a firm executes on its plans, business leaders and managers gain new information that is then fed back into the planning process for reconsideration. 

This entire system leads to better strategic planning, which is crucial to generate efficiencies of scale, avoid risks, and capitalize opportunities ahead of other firms. 

We hope you learned lots of great business insights from the fourth tenet of RDS! 

Remember: It’s easy to separate strategic planning from implementation. However, the lines between these two should actually be blurred. 

Successful business plan execution produces elements for successful planning for the future, and vice versa. This should enable you and your team to deliver positive results that are sustainable not only in the short term but also in the long term. 

Apply RDS’ Tenet 4 the next time you plan AND implement your strategies! 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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