Strategy rules. Managing the strategy journey well has never been more important as a means of surviving, managing and flourishing. More so, in today’s times of constant change. Whether it is shifting profit pools, transforming value chains or disrupting your terrain, plan right, and half your battle is won.
But does strategy have to be a flat collection of dossiers and theories? Standing in 2018 – where new technologies, behaviours and opportunities are unlocking new metaphors of doing same old things – the answer is no. Strategy needs a makeover. A style-over, if you will.
There was a time when strategists were poster boys of society. The gut of Alexander, the grey matter of Chanakya, the glory of Julius Caeser, were as much milestones of history as the stuff of fantasy. In short, they were sexy.
So can we turn the clock back and make strategy sexy again?It’s worth a shot. So here’s a strategy. To reboot strategy.
Put on dem blinkers.
It’s time to add some tunnel vision to your repertoire. Sacrilege? Maybe 15 years ago, not anymore. While most university courses will give you a deep and wide grounding in strategy, it will perhaps pay more to figure out the specific ramifications of strategy in your own business space. Manufacturing, technology, utilities, service – each as its own ‘button’, whether it is protocol, costing, valuation or some other thing. Identify issues that matter to you – just you – and then master them. This will cut out the fat that could be clouding your vision, and make you a meaner machine.
Become a jack of all trades (or, if you have the chops, a Leonardo Da Vinci)
To focus, you need fuel. Go ahead and load up on cross-industry dope. In other words, brush up on what’s happening outside your core zone. Meet and follow leading minds. Subscribe to leading mags and journals in the space. Invite colleagues from other departments to a conversation over croissants. Take a short course. Cross functional versatility – the kind that renaissance maestro Leonardo Da Vinci possessed – not only gives you a richer view of your world, but brings a fuller flavour to your strategy.
Add some crystal-gazing to your resume skill-set.
Develop a nose for spotting disruption. The best place to begin that is Ground Zero – with your customers – so figure out what they’re discussing, considering, buying. Keep a tap on what your competition is upto – and take special note of nascent, more hungry, players. Open yourself up to reverse mentoring with junior colleagues who are in tune with the latest trends. Organize an interior workshop every weekend where every member needs to present a breaking trend from the sector. Attend seminarsand invite guests over to speak to your teams. Take an annual trip to the innovation hubs and cities where the most cutting edge work is happening in your space. Adding a dash of foresight to your KRA not only helps keep organizational inertia at bay and your team on their toes, but gives your strategy that all-important edge : Longevity.
Most importantly, have fun.
Strategy doesn’t need to be stodgy. Prepare to shake that tie off, roll up your sleeves and get some ‘action’. Strategy happens in real-time, so live in the moment. Hire the right team and spend time together. Trade off-sites with adventure-trips.Exchange boring meetings with ferris-wheel sessions (you get the drift). Play 20 questions to figure our best ways forward. Keep a note pad handy to record inspiration and edit plans on the fly. Dare to look beyond the data. Sound out your ideas with your children. Trust your hunch.
Shift the focus from strategy, to strategic.
Strategy, at best, is an approach, not a set of commandments cast in stone. A strategic mindset – liquid by definition – opens up new combinations of thoughts. Sets you up for exciting new possibilities.
And yes, is definitely more sexy.