Sometimes I think the word “strategy” comes with expectations that are way too high. I don’t think the almighty strategy can be delivered and perceived as such is the silver bullet answer for a company’s problems like some may think it is. Yes, a strategy is critically important to determine a logical direction to reach goals, I agree totally. I also feel that some corporate executives as well as consultants give the strategy way too much credit and expect the world once the company approves it. I have seen this happen before. As a former consultant, my expectations and confidence were high that the strategy was perfect based on all the information given to me. However, in creating a new strategic plan, don’t forget to think about and predict factors that will hinder the strategy. These implications should be identified and addressed before the final strategy is approved and put into action.
Translation of Complex Business Issues
Strategy needs to be clearly defined so everyone gets it. According to a Forbes article, only 29% of employees actually understand the CEOs talked-about strategy. –Yikes.
The strategy first starts in the minds of the business leaders who are trying to solve complex issues and ways to acquire new customers. Some of these issues are not totally controllable. Naturally, a strategy sounds good in theory when tossing the idea around in a conference room. BUT… as good as it looks on paper, sometimes it does not translate well when relying on demographics.
Also, the practical application aspects and employee workflow must be considered –this is huge. In my opinion, that is where there the gap is and breakdowns occur the most. Ian Smith has some great points in his LinkedIn article titled, Why A Great Strategy Isn’t Enough. He discusses several symptoms and solutions.
On a pure practical point. We are all human. To achieve this operational focus, the CEO should take an honest look at the demands on the employee.
The operational vision and implications are huge. This could be the missing link between a successful strategy and one that fails to perform the way you need it to. If a company doesn’t fully think about the operational vision and its components, the strategy may not be executed the way it was designed. A great question to insert into the process of your next new strategy session would be:
If this new strategy is to be successful, what are the new set of expectations for our staff and how will their day-to-day jobs be changed?
Don’t forget about Intuition
I’ve always been a fan of intuition, and with today’s metrics paired with it, your research and strategy should have a balanced foundation. Here’s a question you may also want to toss into the ring with your executive team. How will our strategy focus on value creation? Hmm… this is not the norm, value creation tends to be the more popular angle according to Idris Mootee’s book Design Thinking For Strategic Innovation.
Intuition has the remarkable ability to bring clarity to strategic decision making because it reveals a subtle qualitative and quantitative balance that is often needed for all the parts to click – Idris Mootee
If your company is in a position of a strategic overhaul, think about the complex problem – solution part, AND the everyday workflow areas as well. By thinking more holistically and including these other aspects, the missing links, which can cause the strategy to breakdown, may not be a surprise when issues arise.
Scott MacFarland is a lifelong marketer with a passion for content, marketing, digital, social, web, video, analytics, and all things that lead to successful conversions. Scott is currently the Marketing Director for HMY Yachts in Jupiter, Florida.
Why A Great Strategy Isn’t Enough. https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140616025046-22982547-why-a-great-strategy-isn-t-enough
https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2013/07/09/heres-why-ceo-strategies-fall-on-deaf-ears/#136e01a13663Photo Credit: CC0 License – Pexels.com | Rawpixel