Frankfurt, 23. November 2017 – “What is your company’s strategy?” A very simple question, right? Surprisingly still a question, which frequently leads to puzzled looks, frantic research and sometimes also to the blunt admittance, “I do not know.” or “We do not have one.” So what has gone wrong?
Dynamic Market Trap: Particularly in environments like China where everything is about growth, execution overpowers consideration and strategic thinking. Having the focus set on achieving the sales figures of the next quarter, the next half-year or the next year leaves almost no time and mental capacity to look beyond the next twelve months and so to sustainably move from re-acting to acting.
External Expertise Trap: Strategic competency is not amongst the highest priorities in corporate skill development. Frequently, external consultants provide sophisticated, research-based strategy papers, which are conceptually brilliant but not fit to become part of the corporate DNA. As result, the affected organization is neither in a position to relate to the strategy nor to implement it effectively.
Uncertainty Trap: Well-elaborated strategies provide additional certainty by “predicting the unpredictable”. Surprisingly still, uncertainty about future is often an excuse not to invest time into strategy development, particularly in environments with a high level of uncertainty – economically, politically, legally, etc. If we do not know what will happen tomorrow, why bother thinking about how to prepare?
Leading the shift of organizational focus from fostering execution skills to fostering INTERNAL strategic skills and to dealing with uncertainty is key in getting today’s organizations prepared for tomorrow’s challenges. Also it is key in engraining strategy into the company’s DNA. Very bluntly, Peter Drucker has phrased it as “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Sustainable Strategy Development is not primarily about sophisticated technology; neither is it primarily about streamlined processes or relocation to low-cost locations. It is about organizations and it is about people – about activating and engaging people to contribute all of their knowledge, ideas and personality and about uniting people being a common direction.
So key question: How are you leveraging your organizational people assets to move from strategy laggard to strategy frontrunner?