The first thing to die on the battlefield is the battle plan. The same thing applies to strategic plans.
A big problem with strategic plans is that they often assume a static view of the world or the competitive landscape. For example, assuming that if you reduce your price, competition will just let you take more market share. The real world rarely works like that.
Yet many CEO’s are insistent that the “Plan” be followed. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time and resources working on it.
Two keys to success here are making sure your team understands the plan objectives, and then giving them the freedom to work out problems when they hit new obstacles. Only 20% of managers say their companies do a good job of moving resources, budgets, people, and focus to respond to new contingencies in implementation of a strategic plan.
One reason for this statistic is that resources and budgets are tied up in non-strategic initiatives. For example, many companies are slow to exit or sell lagging businesses. There are lots of reasons for this.
Like a bad bluff in a poker game, it’s hard to walk away from the chips you’ve already put in, but it hurts like hell when the guy across the table (or the market) keeps raising your bluff. Prairie Sky Group sees this reluctance in many companies looking to raise money for blue ocean strategic opportunities. The first question we ask is, “How is your current business.” Often we find CEOs and Managers reluctant to abandon bad bets. And most often, we find personal reasons such as loyalty to a manager running the business.
A smart response to changes on the battlefield is to allow your team flexibility to respond. This means moving attention, resources and budgets quickly. The ability to do this is called Agility, “the ability to think and draw conclusions quickly; intellectual acuity… the power of moving quickly and easily; nimbleness.”
Agility should not be confused with pursuing everyone’s new idea. Otherwise you’ll be chasing your strategic soccer ball like a group of five-year olds.
The freedom to overcome obstacles is real Agility. Companies that allow for flexibility of resources and budgets wind up being more profitable and successful.
Do Great Things!
Lee Hobart Stocking
Prairie Sky Group