Sunday, April 24, 2016

“Digital Valley” Tuning II: How to Avoid those Pitfalls in Strategy Management

Strategic wisdom is an integral and multidimensional intelligence. 

The strategy is the pillar of organizational existence, its vision, mission, design, structure, functions. There is no doubt that strategy becomes more important, not less in organizations large or small today, because of the fierce competition, rapid changes, and hyper uncertainty. But there are many obstacles on the way and numerous pitfalls you have to avoid in making a good strategy and executing it smoothly. So how to apply strategic wisdom to overcome those barriers and improve strategy management effectiveness?

Nothing is perfect in this world, and that include 'strategy': The strategy is both art and science. It is important to note corporate strategy is about how to fulfill the unique vision of the future not about the past. Strategic Thinking is an innate skill possessed by a few but claimed by many. One can get very close to perfection but who will be the judge - the originator/creator, user or the affected/ customer? Talking about perfection is just an academic debate, especially nowadays strategy is no longer a static document file put on the shelf, but a dynamic roadmap you should keep updating. You always should define your strategy what the up and down risks are and if realized, what to change. A strategy is not a stubbornly inflexible tool, but you must have reasons for change and drive consistent actions out of that change.

Silo thinking is narrow-minded, and silo strategy will more than once lead to failure:  It’s important to have strategies that are in sync with business vision and mission and, more importantly, coordinate and integrate between all teams cross-functionally to achieve macro success at the enterprise level. However, the choice of words vs. the actual mentality is always up for interpretation. The case of working in an environment where there are barriers to getting things done is so counter-productive, and barriers are in every place. Hence, it is strategically imperative to create synergy via optimizing connection and harnessing collaboration. Otherwise, silo strategy will lead to failure sooner or later.

Not setting Priority right: Another implicit organizational consideration that should explicit in Strategy Management is the need for PRIORITIZATION. Resources are always limited, so not all ideas can be incubated nor should they be, as has already been observed. If there are ten ideas or fifteen goals on the radar then making the "right" decision about which to discard is at least as important as selecting the much smaller number which can be taken forward for experimenting. The strategy is all about identifying the real problems, making the right guidelines, setting the right priority, and taking timely actions.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast: Today companies work more on the execution, and many said business is 30% planning and 70% execution. But culture is really the leader. A great culture can support a weak strategy, but a weak culture cannot support a great strategy. Determining the culture required is part of determining the strategy. Culture is one of the main factors that affect implementation of strategies. While successful strategy should also take account culture into enterprise even around the enterprise. Strategy is driven by culture, for culture is the framework in which strategy is held for effect benefit and growth.  Many of us like Drucker’s quote: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”Culture first, the strategy is tailored to a specific culture" And if the business has a great culture, it will strengthen of strategy execution and you will get a great result. In this sense culture is one of many resources required to execute and realize the strategy.

The smart goal is not so “SMART
”: One of the other pitfalls in Strategy Management is about setting too many performance indicators or measuring the wrong things. S.M.A.R.T goals are more as a guide based on meeting the five criteria-specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. S.M.A.R.T goals work better as a post evaluation tool. Goals are the key to driving accountability, but what makes them effective is how they are implemented. The foundation is the management process. Coming up with 1-3 major aims/goals that everyone understands and agrees upon is key. Once you accomplish that step, it is useful to say "okay, our goal/goals are_______, now how can you make that more specific, how can you measure results, are these results attainable etc." Having a goal that has a purpose should always have first priority, followed by refining that said goal with methods like S.M.A.R.T goals. The point is to make "SMART" goals really smart.

Strategic wisdom is an integral and multidimensional intelligence. It is very crucial to have a clear vision and strategy, and there are many routes that can be taken. A strategic plan is a mean to an end, Strategy Management needs to be agile enough to adapt to change, innovative enough to overcome pitfalls, resilient enough to fix the weakest link, and make strategy execution an ongoing journey and dynamic continuum.


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