1) Strategy is for big companies
Strategy is not just for big companies. In fact, strategy is more important for small and midsized businesses because they have limited resources. A good strategy will articulate:
- What you will do
- Where you will do it
- How you will do it
- Why your how is better than what the current market can offer,
- The timing involved in doing it
- Why the economics of the idea are logical and consistent,
If your strategy can’t answer those questions at a minimum, you probably don’t have a strategy, or even a plan
2) Strategy is detailed 5 year plans and roadmaps
Strategy in 2019 is not 5 year planning, nor should it be considered its own silo or part of the organization. It is done in real time as the market demands change and your competitors change. Moreover, much like you would want every employee to know your differentiators, every person in the company should have at least a passing familiarity with the strategy. This is where the real challenge of strategy lies today, not in developing a strategy, but in building an organization that knows how to deliver on the current strategy, and when to make changes to the direction the company is going.
3) Strategy is dead
While the 5 year strategic plan should be put out to pasture, strategy is more important than it has ever been. Furthermore, in a world where consolidation is ramping up across industries and big business is only getting bigger, small and medium enterprises need to beat Fortune 500 companies just to survive. Let Procter & Gamble focus on conquering 100 industries, your firm only needs to be the best in its particular field and geography. Bloom Advisory Group thinks that having a strategic plan and an organization that is designed to support that plan is the best way to beat the bigs and deliver superior value to your customers.
4) Strategy operates in a vacuum
As strategy moves away from the 5 year planning model to something more responsive, strategy silos need to be destroyed. Then, the knowledge and skills need to be distributed through the organization. In practice that might look like building capital A Agile teams around your company’s products and services with a strategist on each team. Or maybe developing an internal consulting arm of the company that rotates through the business to review growth, engagement, and other leading measures. Bloom’s preferred model is training and educating your workforce to think more strategically across the board to unlock transformative results. In the end, the answer depends on the type of company you want to be and on your company’s industry.
5) Strategy is too ambiguous to be useful
It is understandable why you might think strategy is meaningless in a world where no one can seem to define it, but you would be doing your company a disservice to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The truth is a clearly defined strategy will de-bottleneck your company because your people will be clear on what the company’s direction is. This allows for higher quality and faster distributed decision making, the military calls it Commander’s Intent (though we prefer the German translation of Auftragstaktik). The key is using a framework that makes sense for what your company’s goals are and communicating it clearly and constantly to your teams.