I like strategy, when I see it developed and executed it’s a thing of beauty. I love the game play and like deciphering what the competition is doing – incidentally imho Simon Wardley’s work is as ground breaking as it is simple)
But what is apparent to me is that a lot of companies talk about strategy, but actually have no appetite for it.
let me explain. Recently I’ve recently had the fortune to have some catch ups with some of my old strategy colleagues. They have all cycled out of the business and for various reasons are now back ..they’ve come back wiser and with energy and lots of opinions… and many of the discussions we have (strategy being collaborative and benefiting from the network effect) often have a flavour of “ this business should”…. I’m listening to them, and its good thinking, but i know that the chance of it actually happening are virtually zero.
I know this because the moment i hear the world “should”, i know it won’t happen. Should is a word we use to beat ourselves up. It’s a forever word, one day maybe we’ll get onto that, a word that disempowers you… “i should go to the gym”… “I should spend more time with the kids”… “we should do that”.. “i should cycle in today”. Well I can tell you, the days I cycle in are the ones I choose too, even when its subzero outside or raining. There’s no question, no choice, I just do it.
I bet runners like Ben Kepes don’t say ” i should run today, they just plan it and do it. Founders of companies don’t say ” i have a good idea, i should do something about it”. They just get going and working on the idea.
Delivering on a strategy is the same. Unless the business is up for it, focussed on that (and not the next fire / deal or trinket) the chances of success are very limited.
Next big question is how to get the business up for it.