Aside

Strategy Failure = Strategy Creation Process Gone Awry

We’ve all seen it – the company that makes a play for new customers and finds they’ve targeted incorrectly. The product launch that fizzles. A big rebranding move that ends up being underwhelming.
Is strategy failure due to poor leadership, lack of execution, bad market data? Have customers moved on, is the timing wrong?
Underneath most strategy failure is a strategy creation process that’s gone off the rails.
Granted, hundreds, if not thousands, of volumes have been written about this topic. Still, no one’s really named the elephant in the living room. It’s this – strategy creation is not out of sync with corporate reality.
It’s not an analytic exercise. Traditional approaches treat it as if the problem is owned by someone else.
With organizations becoming more fluid than ever, with customer changes picking up velocity, and with traditional strategy sometimes dictating the elimination of 50% of current structures it’s obvious why no one’s in a hurry to deal with it.
And here’s the problem – past approaches don’t take into consideration local knowledge held by the teams responsible for execution. Decision-making moves up and down the hierarchy with the thinkers separated from the doers. Functional wisdom is absent.
Fix this by developing knowledge collection devices (wikis, hallway conversations, polls, etc.) and get the context right. Fly it past several who will do the execution, listen to their feedback and incorporate it.

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