I have a problem with many strategies that you see doing the rounds today. I feel that there are to many “experts” in their respective fields that seem to know all the answers and have all the solutions to everything.
There are experts in each and every field and many of them are worth their salt. When you look through a text book on strategy and you see names like Philip Kotler and Michael Porter you can very quickly come to understand what made these great names of strategy.
They asked questions!
Only once you have a true understanding of all of the aspects that are going to have an effect on your strategy can you really begin to actually put a strategy together. Putting a marketing strategy together or indeed a full business strategy demands no less of a questioning mind than learning how to do a job in the first place.
Some Aspects of Strategy formation
- Before you begin to put your strategy down on paper and suss out the how’s and when’s you first need to articulate what you are trying to achieve. What is the purpose of what you are doing.
- Once you have a vision, you then need to look at the macro environment and ask yourself who else is offering something similar. Who is a potential threat – are the barriers to enter particularly high. Who is a potential customer. Analyse the macro environment and ask all the questions that relate to how effective your strategy will be in the market. A SWOT analysis is always a very under-appreciated but hugely effective strategy planning tool.
- Look internally; based on all the data you have already received. Is your organisation ready to make a change. What kind of a change does your company need. What additional steps are you going to have to plan and map for when your strategy reaches the market and they take action.
- Nothing happens in isolation. Business decision making is like a Rubiks cube. This means that whatever you do today, will have multiple and continuous effects on every aspect of your business – both good and bad.
The basic lesson of this post is to say. When you think you have got all the answers; stop; and start again. Experts are experts because they ask the most questions and learn from them. Experts are not experts because they speak the most – those are politicians.
Strategy is about getting to the most simple answer and not the most complex. This does not mean you have to dilute your strategy, it simply means that when you have asked enough of the right kinds of questions, there is no need for anything complicated and there is no confusion.