In Listen Up, Biz Leaders: It’s Time to Rethink Everything, Fortune editor and columnist Geoff Colvin reminds us about the recent fates of former industry giants such as Motorola, BlackBerry and Kodak. Colvin comments on the angst felt by many high level executives about the viability of the strategy, organization and business models of their organizations. He then recommends a self-diagnostic of three questions to see where thing stand:
- What is our core? Are we certain that our core business will hold up?
- How is today’s unprecedented environment changing our customers and their behavior? Does that mean more or less demand for what we provide?
- Is our industry being deeply restructured, and if so, how will it affect us? Are we experiencing a hiccup or an earthquake?
Every now and then the leadership of a company must raise its head, look around and make decisions that lead to change. The correct amount of change, however, depends on the situation. Sometimes a small shift of the steering wheel is enough, other times one must stop the car, get out, and look for an airplane going in the opposite direction. There is no prescribed formula. Only through rational analysis can the best courses of action be decided.
“Not every company needs to change its strategy, even in these tumultuous times. But every company needs to determine if its strategy requires an overhaul or just thoughtful tweaks.”
A new study of 163 CEOs, senior strategists and communications professionals, conducted by Forbes Insights and FD in conjunction with the Association for Strategic Planning and the Council of Public Relations Firms, looks at corporate strategy development and implementation. Of special interest was the interdependence of strategy and communications in creating and executing a successful strategy.
Their Nr.1 key finding?
…While senior management does not have a common definition of what strategy is at the conceptual level, it does have a very clear definition of what strategy is not, as well as a very clear, pragmatic definition of what types of corporate initiatives are and are not strategic…
In Strategy Is… Hmm…, we talked about Chris McCall’s three fundamental questions about strategy:
- What business are we in?
- What business should we be in?
- How do we get there?
So, if senior management does not have a common definition of strategy, that means they are not on the same page in regards to the three questions above. Am I the only one who finds this extremely disturbing?
Luckily, I am not. Mitch Ellner, CEO of CNC Strategy Cloud Solutions, talks about this in his post Strategic Planning – the “Strategy” of all 3 Resources. With three resources, he means people, processes/information and finances.
“Businesses need to begin to look at all 3 strategic resources – people, processes, finances – to measure and thus manage against, and with begin to look at this as a part of the business – ongoing, habit and consistent – not as a “project” that has a start and stop. Strategic Planning, strategy, alignment, execution, et al. has no start and stop. It does have change.”