Strategy- Lifeline of
a company or just a yawn?
Should you read this article?
Please, before reading the article, put a
hand on your heart and answer the following questions thinking
about your own organization:
1.Do you remember your mission and vision
2.Is someone else than top management responsible
for your strategy, too?
3.Do you make all your annual and quarterly
plans based on the strategic plan?
4.Can you describe your total business strategy
in 100 words?
5.Is your job designed to make you accountable
for long-term success?
6.Are you discussing strategy in at least
75% of your management meetings?
7.Is your newest em-ployee able to state
your organizational values?
8.Does your management report tell if you
are proceeding towards your vision?
9.Are leadership, teamwork and organizational
style part of your strategy?
10.Would you describe your strategy as exciting,
energizing and helpful? If you answered “yes”,
less than eight times, it’s worth spending five minutes
to read this article. For further advice or comments, do not
hesitate to contact Unleash Talent INC.
Ruki - email@example.com and Tomi- firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been studied, unofficially though, that
about 17% of people automatically yawn when they hear the word ‘strategy’.
For some people the word strategy is just a prehistoric
relic that bears no importance in the contemporary business life.
Mintzberg, Porter, Schein, Hamel – even Sun Tzu – have
all dwelled on the topic of strategy for such a long time, that
we don’t have to care about it anymore. For some, strategy
is just a concept among the management fads.
At its best, strategy is often seen as a necessity
that has to be carried out once a year: The top-management team
books an expensive hotel on the outskirts of the city, loosens up
the tie a notch and comes up with something… hopefully, because
the hotel really was expensive and the water polo session was great.
|What do you do when you reach a dead end with
In our understanding, strategy is the lifeline
of any organization – whether a business, NGO or public sector.
Having an excellent strategy is a solid basis to start a journey
towards victory, and feeling energized along the way. Now you might
think that we are fooling you: “Hey, we do have a strategy
and it didn’t help!” What to do if you are still not
successful and people are not really enjoying the ride? Should you
go back to the drawing board and re-write the strategy?
Let’s face it. Forming a strategy is not
rocket science – unless you happen to be in that sort of a
business, of course. It’s quite simple indeed: You just assess
what is your current position, where you want to go and with what
kind of guidelines, come up with a way to get there and then make
the journey verifying the progress while you’re at it. Sounds
Without a doubt, most organizations have a strategy.
Some even hired ridiculously expensive external help to formulate
it, so that it would look nice and sound fancy. Well, guess what,
this is where most managers go wrong!
We mentioned before that having a strategy is
a solid basis for victorious journey. Nonetheless, solely having
a strategy is not enough. You need to communicate it across the
whole organization, stick to it, and energize your people with it.
Certainly, it helps if you have empowered them to participate already
in the strategy creation stage. Touting the CEO’s self-made
wet dream for the over-worked staff is not the answer. They could
To say it explicitly: It’s about time you
took more out of the individuals you have in your organization!
Come on, you paid big money to get them working for you. Why not
use their capacity to the fullest? By participating in the decision
making process people create ownership over the plans, and feel
valued. For some, having an impact and building own competency are
more important than financial rewards. Consider that the next time
when you are struggling in between getting your people motivated
and cutting the salary costs. Moreover, by engaging people from
all departments and levels of leadership you manage to get a more
holistic and – well – a better plan!
We started this article with the notion that 17%
of people yawn automatically when they just hear the word “strategy”.
Of course that was plain ‘yak guano’, but at least we
got your attention. Anyhow, you might ask “Why would any normal
person be interested in strategy?” Because, at least in our
opinion, strategy includes the component of organizational identity
and that is something that can really boost people’s outlook
on their own organization.
|Having a strategy is a solid basis for a victorious
With identity we mean the organizational vision,
mission, values and cultural traits.
A few months back while we were conducting a workshop
for 95 managers from a large conglomerate, we asked the question
“Who knows the group’s mission and vision?” None
of them got it correct.
Often the concepts of vision and mission are mixed
so we rather call them dream and purpose. We once heard a CEO say,
“I don’t care about our mission that much as long as
I can remember our vision even when I wake up in the middle of the
night”. That could be rephrased to “I don’t care
what the reason for my existence is as long as I know where I’m
going”. Get it right, sooner or later. ‘Purpose,’
‘Dream’ and ‘Value’ statements should not
exist only to impress some outsiders about your linguistic skills.
There is no point in describing the reason for your existence with
50 heavy words, when you forget the first 10 of them by the time
you reach the end. We believe in the power of simplicity. It should
be simple enough to be remembered by your office assistants when
rushing through traffic on the rainy streets of Colombo.
Strategy should be on the lips of every leader,
on the bulletin boards of every office, on the desktop of every
laptop and as a basis for every year plan and each individual initiative.
That’s why it should be simple, easy-to-understand and explained
both visually and verbally.
|People automatically yawn when they hear the
We believe that inspiring and empowering leadership
is the key to evolutionary and revolutionary improvements in an
organization. This is why we insist on leveraging on human-touch
with any strategy model you should be using, utilizing leadership
as a business driver to reach excellence. You need to ensure that
leadership, synergistic teamwork, impact of the culture of the organization
upon an individual, and capabilities of people are not overlooked
even in the face of brutal financial demands.
Your business strategy should be a framework that
you use everyday to breathe life into your organization.
There is no point of having a strategy if you
cannot move it beyond a nice ring bound document or a flashy power
You need to hardwire your strategy in to your
organizational design. Your reporting should tell you that your
strategies are in motion rather than churning out stacks of unnecessary
data that you cannot use… or worse yet, data that holds you
back in purely operational decision making. If you cannot communicate
your strategy and control it on one A4 paper, it’s time to
If you want to prevent your file cabinet from
gathering dust, you might use your company’s strategy for
that matter. However, there are more powerful tools – like
dusters and vacuum cleaners – for that purpose. Those who
see strategy as a learning process, and those who use it wisely
as a management tool, will please their customers, will beat their
competition, will make the office a better place to work, will gather
above average profits and will make the dreams come true.
(The youthful facileaders of Unleash Talent INC
- Ruki and Tomi - are using their experience and funky approach
to help people and organizations to unleash true potential and live
with inspiration. If you are willing to run an extra mile and make
an extra smile, they are able to facilitate your strategic readiness
to the level described in the article).