Thursday, July 5, 2012

Emphasize Strategy Deployment, Not Selection

By Pascal Dennis

"Any damn fool can make a plan. It's the execution that screws you up."

My favorite military adage.

Corporate strategy usually entails spending 80% of our energy devising the "perfect strategy" - and precious little on deployment.

But deployment is what screws you up.

Strategy development entails answering questions like:
  1. What are we trying to achieve? (Our "Policy" to use a military metaphor),

  2. Where, when & with what forces will we fight?

Important questions, to be sure, but usually not as complicated as people make out.

The tools of strategy selection -- SWOT, Five Force analysis & the like -- are well known.

Most important is a gut level understanding of your business gained by long apprenticeship, numerous annual PDCA cycles, and by getting your hands dirty.

Often the best strategy is some combination of:
  1. Design & make cool stuff

  2. Sell more,

  3. Wring out cost, and

  4. Involve everybody in improvement

And the most adroit strategy will falter unless it is translated (deployed) such that each level and team have a focused set of breakthrough activities.

We deconstruct the elephant, if you will, so that everybody has a piece of it.

In summary, in developing your strategy, go see, reflect deeply, and use the core tools in the strategy tool box.

But put 80% of your organization's energy into:
  1. Deployment, i.e. translating objectives & means level by level,

  2. execution, and

  3. in creating a freewheeling, entrepreneurial atmosphere where initiative flourishes



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