I was talking with a friend last night and our conversation turned to our work.
"What is it your company actually does?"
"We help our client make their strategies happen."
My friend, a retired accountant replied
"That's interesting. Do you help also them do their strategic planning?"
"We can do, but in our experience that is a relatively well-tilled field. The really hard part for our clients is putting their strategic plans into practice so that they get the outcomes and performance they really want."
My mind flipped back to Captain Jean-Luc Picard. It's relatively easier to say the equivalent of , "Make it so." the senior executive feels its a courageous, defining moment, and she can easily delude herself that the decision is the hard part done.
But really it is all in the execution. All our planning and decision-making comes to nothing if we can't make it happen.
So my friend probed further:
"Is there such a thing as a poor strategy?"
My mind touched on the most common reasons for poor strategy:
- I've seen strategies written in a vague, abstract and contradictory manner.
- I've seen strategies that are otherwise worthy, but are out-of date; the world has moved on, and such strategies no longer address current or breaking external drivers.
- Outside the few senior elite, I've heard rumours of a strategy, but no one else is quite sure of what it is.
But whatever the strategy is, it stands or falls in its execution through programme, project and change management, and the joined up governance between these.