Monday, October 28, 2013

Five Signs of Bad Strategy

A Good Strategy is abstract enough to develop further, but detail enough to guide through. 
A Bad Strategy is too empty to follow through, or too verbose to highlight the KEY...

Every forward-looking organization has a strategy, but not every strategy is a good strategy, Like a GPS, a good strategy clear defines the destination and the alternative route to get there. What're the signs of bad strategy though?

The leading executive has chosen a goal and called it a strategy. Most of the times the so-called "strategy" document only gives the goals objectives but does not state the roadmap or path to achieve the goal. The executive team needs to provide vision to the staff and then share the differentiating recipe for how their strategic approach will accomplish "goals" that exceed those of their competitors. Simply stating the goals with no indication of how to accomplish them (strategy and tactics) does not rally the troops. Indeed, it's actually the "non-strategy" approach of stratospheric statements that are too lofty for the average employee to connect with and understand how they can contribute to achieving the goal. 

Jumping from mission formulation to strategy development without sufficient time to determine the critical success indicators embodied in the mission statement. Or management rejects the formal planning mechanism and make intuitive decisions that may conflict with the formal plan. Or the management is becoming so engrossed in current problems that insufficient time is spent on long-range planning. This also creates confusion for other employees on how the plan is to be deployed in their work activities

Many times the strategy storyboard is written and approved but without a solid commitment to overcome both in internal and external challenges. It is usually the internal challenges that are hidden, and executives may not be aware of the demand for the challenges as well during execution. The strategy is nothing but the answer to the question where the resources should be allocated to get the max leverage for the advancement. This resource allocation (Focus, time, money and people) commitment will be fuzzy till the key challenges are understood and agreed upon.

Treating planning as something quite different and not an integral part of the entire management process. Top management believes that it can create a plan by delegating the planning function to a "planner." While the planner may facilitate the planning process, management must still take ownership of the plan itself. Otherwise, they will fail to use the plans as a standard for measuring performance

Top management fails to communicate the plan to the other employees, who continue working in the dark. Fail to involve key employees in all phases of the planning process (preparation, strategy development, evaluation, and implementation). Or the planning is becoming so formal that the process lacks the flexibility and creativity needed to address the uniqueness of each company. To put simply, fail to create a climate which is collaborative and not resistant to change.

There're no such absolute criteria to differentiate good strategy and bad strategy; the right strategy should be ambitious enough to inspire organization up to the next level, and practical enough to execute it with confidence.


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