Saturday, June 15, 2013

Is Strategy like Sail

A business ecosystem is more dynamic like the deep sea these days if an organization is like a boat, and then the strategy ls like the sail needs to be continually adjusted to get speed up toward the right direction. As it depends upon sailboat (business)’s capabilities to capture the wave and navigate direction.   Organizations (of any kind) must have a "supreme" guide in a defined identity. Strategies must be designed to get things done while preserving the identity. Now more than ever strategies must be dynamic.

  1. A strategic approach must be tied to a view of the environment (prevailing products, technologies, trends, etc.,) have a concrete set of measurable performance goals and a set of indicators that can be referenced to assess whether the strategy is on track or not. The organization must be prepared to review and revise the strategy at any time that the indicators shift to a state that implies the need for it. Therefore, it is important to scale the process of creating a strategy to fit within the expected change cycle of the environment
  1. A strategy must account for both changing market forces and the ongoing investment in developing your core competency to ensure your business can remain relevant in your chosen market. Conversely, choosing to move into new markets must also explicitly mean choosing to invest in developing and adjusting core competency to deliver services and products in those markets. Failing to recognize and adjust core competency has gotten many a growing company into trouble. Businesses need to self-evaluate often and understand what they can and can't do. Jumping into a new market or technology with no competency to deliver is sure to result in failure.  
  1. There two types of mindsets in organizations when it comes to strategy: Strategies are along with the process being considered as a separate entity from the organization. This approach is about adjusting the strategy based on the Vision, Direction, Market demands, challenges encountered by the organization. This approach tends to have a definite lag between decisions and the drive. The other approach: Strategy to be built as an integral part of the organization and is located in the front of the organization. The strategy is the driving force pulling the organization through a dynamic ever-evolving market. 
  1. The strategy should be an evolving part of the company. As markets and industries shift,  a business should reevaluate its strategy to ensure it can stay competitive. Strategies need to be dynamic and evolutionary at the same time linked to business imperatives as a whole..........based on the dynamics of business imperatives you have an average 100 days to respond in seriously competitive (threat) industries where if you miss the boat, you will be relegated from leader to follower. In the lesser realms, you maybe have 200 days before relegation shows on your balance sheet 
  1. Strategic management is a continuous process that appraises the business and industries in which the organization is involved; appraises its competitors, and fixes goals to meet all the present and future competitors and then reassesses each strategy. The strategic management process means defining the organization’s strategy. It is also defined as the process by which managers make a choice of a set of strategies for the organization that will enable it to achieve better performance. 
  1. The tricky part is to determine to which  degree the strategy must be cascaded throughout all groups, especially at large, multi-business unit companies. If a company expects that it will require high agility to succeed, then having total buy-in on the vision may be more important than formally cascading the strategic plan. Because individual leaders can be more innovative in how they pursue the vision. In this sense, part of the organization strategy is to allow freedom of action and then pick the best ideas and results from the internal marketplace within the company. Instead of cascading down... you observe and assess reward and promote what works, and try to have demand-pull achieve the cascade effect. 
  1. Employing Business Architecture techniques to draft or execute a business strategy is always a better option. Business Architecture analysis helps to point out the impact of business function and capabilities changes on operating and business models, provide insight into developing implementation roadmap, and identify dependencies, risks, and bottlenecks. Such efforts validate (or not) a given strategy and may prove the sustainability of a strategy.


Pearl, At first I reacted against the idea of strategy with a sailing analogy but as I thought more of it I think there is a ton of merit around being aware of the environment and using the environment to guide your way to destination. Sometimes you will need to tack or jibe - an element of agility.

However, IT leaders also need to have the outboard motor at the ready in case the wind dies so progress does not stall.

Chris (@chris_p_intel)

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