Is your strategy developed using relevant facts & data that can’t be disputed, or based on what few individuals’ aspirations and desires?
I was working with a client on assessing their failure in achieving what their 3-years ‘strategy’ was. To my surprise, beyond an aspiration-statement, there wasn’t much in their ‘strategy’ for us to learn from! This is not an extreme example, as the term strategy is used very loosely. For us, strategy has always been a tool to make important choices in a resource-constrained world. I haven’t come across a single client having an abundance of resources to achieve whatever they set their sights on. One or more out of Capital, Talent or Time has always been a constraint against doing everything in the universe. Successful clients had a very granular and facts-based approach to developing strategy. They would put together the objectives & constraints, baseline performance against market to assess genuine capabilities, then assess emerging trends & implications, then generate options for value creation based on genuine capabilities, trends & competition, then choose where & how to compete (and very importantly, where not to compete), then develop detailed action plans for the selected options, including reallocation of resources, communication of changes and finally create a loop of tracking progress using data & making revisions to the strategy whenever required. We have seen this consistently in case of clients who achieved better success rate in implementation of their strategy. As anyone would observe, there are multiple steps in development and each require granularity to make meaningful decision. This leads me to another learning, related to sources of insights or facts. The more these sources are insightfully spread-out in the organisation, the higher the chance of getting more granularity. It is very obvious and intuitive that a top-down approach here would only give us a 50,000 ft view and not enough granularity. We rely on knowledge and in-market tools
by experts such as Santhosh Babu
, to identify those sources of insights hidden in the client’s organisation. And then, leverage those sources of insights in co-developing the strategy (Learning #1), followed by spreading the ownership in the organisation through these influencers. Learning #2: Go deep, go granular in the journey of strategy development, in collecting the facts required in each step of that journey and in identifying & leveraging the sources of insights