Monday, June 16, 2014

Can you Debunk the Myth of Strategy

Strategy is about putting a good team together to give you a multifaceted picture zooming into business's future. 

The strategy is a myth with many perceptions: There are so many people who think the strategy is a 'fit and forget', do it once a year from top-down; the standard the company rallies to and part of its makeup. Others see it as bottom-up, your strategy evolves from your people and your day to day actions and culture of how you treat people at the business-customer interface. Then there is another group who sees strategy as an evolving thing; it is part of a business trajectory, rather than a business model. Others see it as tablets of stone handed down by senior management, a dictate to be deviated from at your peril. So can you debunk such myth of strategy, and how to craft a good strategy?

Emergent vs. deliberate: There are two schools of thought about the strategic process: The blending of emergent and deliberate strategies. Strategy should be formed on the basis of some logical intent - after all, if you have no plan, and success happens, it was an accident! Business becomes more dynamic, you need to be in tune with customer value, and particularly how that value changes or migrates over time, which is where the opportunities for emergent strategy are. The strategic process is dynamic and ongoing; deliberate strategies are developed and tested for their fit with customers and markets, new strategies evolve based on the learning of front-line strategists leading to foresight based on uncovering unanticipated markets and inarticulate customer needs.

Linear vs. non-linear: The linear school is less practical in the competitive environment since almost nothing is linear in life, and this model oversimplifies the actual problem. It takes non-linear thinking to craft a good strategy which is cascading to response to the emerging business opportunities promptly, but it should also deliver the required and desired benefits with sustainability. Otherwise, no strategy is good if you are doing well in the market you serve.

Creative vs. analytic: Strategy is a “total thinking” process. It is both creative and analytical; both right brain and left brain. There are strategists who craft strategy through very left brain, logical, sequential step by step approach. This will usually produce satisfactory strategies but the process will be dull, the vision may not be as clear as it could be and commitment may suffer. On the other hand, there is the other type of strategists who will focus on building up in team building and help you to see the vision more clearly, but this often leads nowhere and benefits are soon dissipated. Thus, more often, you need to take an approach to strategic management that incorporates both of these perspectives related to developing and executing strategy successfully. 

Logic vs. magic: In logic, relying on data and numbers has often been to the design of the engineer to create the image preferred. Sage thinking outside the narrow path of traditional or classical business application of strategy allows the business leader to push to the limits of their imagination. Strategy has to suit your organization, if it is too rigid or prescriptive, it becomes a waste of time. Strategy is also about analyzing the customer's needs from the customer's viewpoint and then creating a deliverable plan to meet and exceed the customer's expectations based on the customer's viewpoint. Strategy isn't just about making decisions. It is about getting the best information you can, continuously update. It is about uncovering all the options, even the unpalatable ones. It is about putting a good team together to give you a multifaceted picture. It is for evaluating the long-term, not just the immediate, and building about agility and flexibility.

Crafting a strategy is like to grow a tree, to know the main path, to develop branches when necessary according to the futures events. ...No matter which school do you prefer, a good strategy embraces three “C”s: Context, Cascade, and Creativity.


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