Newvick Lee
17 Feb 2017

Sticking to your strategy can be deadly

WRITTEN BY ROY OSING

It is very easy to get into the relaxing position of staying the current course of your business.

"Things are going well, so why should we change?" is a question that is often asked by business people when proposed changes are on the table.

There is a considerable temptation to continue to manage organizational affairs with the assumption that what got you here will get you where you need to go in the future.

This is momentum management; moving the organization forward fuelled by the thought process and strategy of the past.

The marketplace rarely lets us get away with momentum management.

Our business environment today is more volatile than ever. Increasing customer power, furious competition, regulatory change and fluctuating economic health can require an organization to change in a heartbeat and adopt a new direction to have a better chance of success and survival.

Keeping pace with external change is critical to maintaining performance.


“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” -- Jack Welsh


When overall performance is positive - total revenue, operating margins and net income - specific inefficiencies in the business can be disguised. Increasing operating costs in a particular business unit, waning gross margins for specific products, new tactics being employed by a single competitor and declining share of wallet among some key customers can do unnoticed.

Micro performance problems that can foreshadow bigger strategic challenges are not seen.

But when high level performance suffers, organizations stand "raw naked" in the wind;  they are exposed and are punished for their inability to successfully meet the changed market dynamics.

"When the wind is blowing fast enough, even turkeys can fly. But as soon as that wind dies down, the turkeys start dropping." -- Steve Gedeon, Ted Rogers School of Management.

It is better to be in a constant state of change to be prepared when the wind dies down than to wait until it is a matter of life or death.

This mandates a critical role for leadership:

 1. Leaders must be constantly driving change in their organizations, always being unconvinced that the current strategy will continue to provide benefits.

 2. They must be uncomfortable with stability and high levels of performance, understanding that success today is illusion that can lead the organization to believe that the current direction will have sustainability into the future.

 3. They must be the instrument of introducing organizational discontinuity to prevent the momentum management dilemma from happening; they must treat "discontinuity introduction" as an important element of their competitive advantage.

And they begin the process of obsoleting their new strategic game plan as soon as it is introduced.






Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.

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1 Comments

Anthony
Apr 01, 2017 External
interesting article on how to not stick to strategy as it is a form of being in your comfort zone. If you want to grow you need to keep changing the way your business is running.
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