I am sitting in Logan airport with a clean email inbox. First time in weeks, if not months, I think. I’ve been swimming pretty hard lately as there have been several client things really needing attention.
But sitting here with internet access and no emails in my inbox gives me permission to write.
The reason I’m in Boston is because a client hired us to conduct a session. They brought in Clayton Christensen and McKinsey to help them think about innovation and growth. The company is already on a great trajectory. But they want more. And rather than look for a prescriptive answer, they wanted folks to stimulate their thinking with practical, real-world examples. The idea is that if they can develop filters on what to do, and what are options that have worked, they can become more than a one-hit wonder. They can really do something incredible.
Strategy has many clever and useful definitions such as:
How an organization uses limited resources to accomplish goals
How an organization uses its game plan to compete
How customer value is delivered
How to arrive at a profit
And while all that is good textbook stuff, I would just add that it has to include the ways in which a company can make changes to something that is established by introducing something better. It is more than a new idea, it the successful exploitation of that idea. And it has to do with change and bringing out a better performance in the end.
The word ‘strategy’ has come to have many definitions over time. Many associate it with the big picture place to go. But I think it’s about the ways in which an organization comes to grip with what it can do, and what it needs to do going forward to continue serving a group of customers and do it better than anyone else. And usually it means acknowledging and discussing the organizational bias that might no longer make sense.
This team resonated well to the idea that they can’t be doing good innovation and thinking of what’s next if they are neck deep and swimming in the fray. Essentially, creating new ideas takes some space. It also does not happen in the shower, all by itself. Doing good strategic planning requires time to research and gather ideas. It requires focus to synthesize and combine. It requires inspiration to imagine solutions.
A fundamental to strategic planning is having a reserve of energy and creativity. So I leave with that thought. If we have no reserve, than we’re not leaving ourselves much time to create. To write, to think, to be.
I am going to find my 5% reserve back in my life so I can get back to creating more good ideas. And do some more blogging.