On a daily basis, I am asked to describe what I do. Strategy is really just applying a process, concept, or procedure to ensure results. Some of the subtle differences include being able to apply Strategy across multiple disciplines. A lot of what I do and present to most people seems counter-intuitive. I approach each client and their 'problems' with a fresh mindset each time. What works for some doesn't work for others. Sometimes what worked last time, won't work this time. I caught a glimpse of an article by Forbes that classified 5 core areas of 'Strategy versus Strategery'.
- If the 'strategy' meeting you're holding was called ten minutes ago it's a strategery meeting
- If you're developing the plan at midnight on your 10th cup of strong coffee, it's probably strategery
- If three participants in the meeting are dialing in separately by phone to discuss it, it's strategery
- If the 'strategic plan' needs to be implemented at 9am tomorrow morning and completed by 10am it's a strategic plan
I often use this article with companies at the first meeting to have a discussion of how much 'Strategery' is occurring. I want to focus on strategy- and from my perspective, the fundamentals (or issues) that arise when scaling or executing a corporate initiative typically can be categorized into 3 areas:
- People - Who are the key people (or people missing) - their roles and commitment to execution
- Process - What are the steps and follow through (or that are missing)
- Technology - Where are gaps, what things can be automated, and how quickly can these tools be implemented to achieve success
For example, if you are trying to sell a product or a service, I will discourage you from a 10-page flyer explaining it in detail. I may encourage you to have a short video, that includes a call to action to then download the detailed flyer. I will create context for conversations and a dialogue of objectivity. The fundamentals of a solid strategy start with NOT drinking your own Kool-Aid. In most cases, I am thrust into a company or a team where they make the grandiose assumption that there is no other product, service, or solution than what they offer. Given our landscape- this is not impossible- but it is improbable.
I try not to be unkind as I deliver words that are sometimes hard to hear. I do not ever discourage someone - but I offer them insight as to the market- and I provide them with an audit to show the other products that are similar. It's often a tough conversation, met with denial, and strong dissent. I have learned that people that are willing to take feedback and pivot along the way are more likely to be able to secure funding.