• Arts
  • Language Services
  • Furniture
  • Educational Services
  • Private Equity
  • Event Management
  • Nonprofit / Foundation
  • Manufacturing
  • Information Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Hotels and Restaurants
  • Health Care & Pharmaceuticals
  • Media - Broadcast and Publishing
  • Engineering / Construction
  • Food Products, Beverages and Tobacco
  • Petroleum Industry
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade
  • Travel and Leisure
  • Transporting, Moving and Warehousing
  • Telecommunications
  • Security Services
  • Real Estate
  • Marketing and Public Relations
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Consumer Goods
  • Law Companies
  • Consultancy
  • Architecture
  • Airlines

News

Strategy is not rocket science! But sooo important…

9.03.2017
Company: Amcham

There is of course hundreds of good and valid reasons why all and every organization regardless of size should have an implemented strategy. A clear, communicated, and actually quite simple and straight forward strategy. So why is there so many that don’t have this?

Strategy in a table

Subject

Without a strategy

With a clear strategy

Success

Because of luck

Due to a team doing great work

Recruiting

An empty position is filled

The new employee is a real addition

People retention

People without better alternatives stay

Engaged people stay

Delegation

Not possible, will lead to chaos

Enabled

Investors

Not understanding, not interested

Interested

Customers

Buys if lowest price

Understand added value

Opportunities

Picking the short term best one’s

Picking the right one’s

And so on…

Bad

Good

 

Common reasons for NOT having a clear strategy

We have tried to figure out why, and these reasons emerge:

The secrecy reason: “-We have a strategy, but it is confidential…, and God knows where it will end up if we told our employees…”

Normally, this is just an excuse coming from poor leadership. When you look harder, there are actually no strategy in place, confidential or not. If there is one, you will find that it would have been perfectly doable to implement it with some minimal tweaks – taking out information that really should be kept confidential. What we also find is that companies have a tendency to excess in what is confidential.

The power reason: “-Knowledge is power, so I will not share the strategy”-type of thinking from leadership and/or owners.

One could argue that it is equally about control, and power and control is of course two sides of the same coin; weak leadership. This is also a person who do not want to delegate, and possibly are a little afraid of truly engaged people. It is sad when one encounter this.

The Harvard reason: Harvard and others have made strategy a science, complicated and difficult.

This is so, but research and clever people working on a subject is great. There is an amazing +100,000 titles on Amazon covering “Business Strategy”. It is a fascinating subject, and a fundamental business requisite. But you don’t need to read them all, actually not any of them if you are not planning on becoming an expert. Strategy is not rocket science!  On the contrary, it is both easy and fun. And most of those books will advocate simple before complicated, because the whole meaning with a strategy is to implement it.

The big 5 reason: The big consulting companies have made it their favorite business to invoice mega hours and dollars for any little strategy update, i.e. in combination with Harvard above, all think that a strategy development project will consume just too much of available resources.

If at all using an outside resource to drive your strategy work, shop around and do fixed price. With a good facilitator using an efficient process and proven tools, it should not be more than CZK 100,000 in outside cost. The hours spent internally has a value over and above just developing a strategy with buy in.

The culture reason: Someone (most agree it was Peter Drucker) once expressed a very clever thought with “-Culture eats strategy for breakfast (later became lunch)”. This has then been misrepresented, and misunderstood to mean that strategy is meaningless, and culture is everything.

Could it be that you need both on your side? Yes, of course. Actually, the main component of the strategy could be to change a destructive culture. Strategy and culture are interlinked, and should be. This is why it is so important how you develop your strategy. Top down only seldom result in anything good, and it certainly don’t help in the implementation.

The did-not-work reason: “-We had a strategy, did not work, so now we just operate on a few assumptions, and use risk reviews a lot…”

 Many organizations simply get their strategy wrong, or are afraid that they will get it wrong. Well, it is actually better to have a starting point of a failed strategy than none. In the former case you have learnt a lot, and can adjust. You know what went wrong, because you acted in accordance with a strategy.

The paradigm of it all, is that strategy development is both easy and fun, building teams, culture and values, and should cost very little in external resources. The outcome is a better business, where people have purpose and direction, enabling delegation, and picking the best opportunities.

Strategy development in a nutshell

The prime objective of any strategy is to make the business direction obvious to especially those who work in it, but also others. Without a clear strategy, delegation of authority leads to chaos instead of efficiency.

A clear strategy with buy-in, not only gives meaning and purpose for the individuals in the organization, but enables teams to collaborate and the whole organization to pull in the same direction. This is powerful.

The second objective is the actual work producing the strategy. To stop and think. Research. Discuss. Systematically building a non-biased and fact based road map. Getting the biggest bang for invested money and time in a fast paced environment.

That work starts at the very top, with the owners. They have to establish the frame work, which is often referred to as the Owners Directive. The possibly most famous example is what Ingvar Kamprad wrote for the benefit of the whole IKEA organization in 1976, and which is still valid.

Additional directives, assumptions about e.g. the market, and qualitative and quantitative targets need to come from the Board of Directors, and the CEO and his team. The organization can then develop a strategy with buy in and engagement, resulting in a successful implementation – the purpose of the whole exercise.

The strategic process can be extremely complex, or fairly simple and straight forward. It depends on the starting point, and the level of change wanted or necessary.

A good strategy should be clear about marketing and sales, cost, cash, and desired organizational culture and values. And what not to do. Minimum, a clear strategy should give understandable answers to;

  1. Why should anyone care (about our organization)?
  2. How do we do things/business/…?
  3. What is our offering/uniqueness?
  4. To whom do we offer this, and where?

Please see rrrconsulting.eu/strategy for more inspiration and thinking about strategy. Good luck!

Have you also seen companies spending literally millions on their new strategy, and what comes out is understood by very few?

The paradigm of it all, is that strategy development is both easy and fun, building teams, culture and values, and should cost very little in external resources. The outcome is a better business, where people have purpose and direction, enabling delegation, and picking the best opportunities. 

Author: Magnus Pousette, RRR Consulting, s.r.o.

Tags: Business Development |

AmCham Corporate Patrons

x
x

Delete

Are you sure? Do you really want to delete this item?