Every company says they have a Strategy; many do not, including those that believe they do.
Let’s start by seeing what Strategy is not. When the redundant, non-essential, and distracting elements are removed, what remains begins to look more like Strategy.
Strategy is critical to business success. Creating and executing an effective business strategy is a task that the CEO and C-Suite cannot readily delegate to others. When Strategy is weak, objectives are unclear, resources are not properly allocated, communication and marketing are inconsistent, competitive advantage is eroded, and financial goals are not met. Operating with a flawed strategy that is not a strategy at all will lead to poorer outcomes for the business.
Richard Rumelt in Good Strategy/Bad Strategy concisely states that to detect bad Strategy, look for one of the following:
1. Fluff: Bad Strategy is a simple statement of the obvious combined with a generous sprinkling of buzzwords creating the illusion of high-level thinking. It may sound Strategic but lacks any actionable direction.2. Failure to face the challenge: Bad Strategy does not define or recognize the business’s challenge.
3. Mistaking Goals for Strategy: Goals or desires are not strategies. Goals support the Mission; Strategy supports and directs how the Goals are to be achieved.
4. Bad strategic objectives: Strategic objectives are set by the leaders. Strategic objectives are wrong when they do not address critical issues or challenges.
Strategy is not Vision or Misson.
Strategy is not Goals or Objectives.
Strategy is not a Powerpoint presentation or slide deck.
Strategy is not a mashup of words with Strategy added to it.
Strategy is not just another good thing to do.
Strategy is complex; it involves making tough choices, choosing what to do, and choosing what not to do. Good Strategy changes the actions and behaviors of the organization’s workforce.
“Strategy brings relative strength against relative weakness.”
Making these decisions is hard. It requires focusing on what you are building and letting go of that which no longer serves your objectives.
Letting go is hard.
So, how good is your Strategy?