Source | www-entrepreneur-com.cdn.ampproject.org | Dr. Pavan Soni
Our understanding of strategy has come a long way from the war-front to the collaborative ecosystems. We are now getting an appreciation that strategy is not a zero-sum game, but is synergistic, that it is emergent and not definitive, and that is must be more responsive than previously thought. While long ago strategy was synonymous with Long Range Planning, in today’s world of hyper-competition and VUCA economy, the boundaries between strategy and execution are getting blurred. When organizations are graduating from a linear model of thinking to a more iterative approach, where creation and delivery timeframes are rapidly shrinking, and speed takes precedence over accuracy, where does it leave the venerable Office of Strategy Management? How will the strategy making process cope with rapidity of change and retain its relevance? Here’s some perspective on what the Office of Strategy Management can borrow from the world of agile.
Don’t confuse strategy with purpose
The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, famously observed, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” The imperative of ‘purpose’ can’t ever be overstated for an organization. Simon Sinek frames this as the Golden Circle, comprising of the Why (the purpose of existence), the How (secret recipe), and What (the products and services), and offers that customers do not buy into your what or even how, but your why, and the same applies to your employees and partners. An area that leads to a lot of confusion is: ‘Where does strategy lie: Why, How, or What?’ The strategy is about ‘how’ to meet your objectives. Scores of leaders confuse strategy with objectives, or vision or mission. As Michael Porter clarifies, strategy is all about differentiation, and how uniquely you achieve your objectives than others.
The purpose stays but the strategy evolves. And in dynamic contexts the timeframe of strategy planning shrinks from decades to years and even into quarters. It would be unwise to think that once you have formed a strategy you don’t have to relook at it for a fairly long time. The strategy is a living document, where your plan is only as good as the external realities, and that the execution is only as good as the outcomes. So, the Office of Strategy Management must set out the purpose firmly but be flexible and fluid on the strategy, and even more so on is execution.