Strategy vs. Process Improvement: What’s More Important?

by Jay Deragon on 05/21/2012

Strategy Formulation vs. Process Improvement is like architecture and construction:  they are equally important.  And, wholly interdependent.  One cannot be fulfilled without the other.

Without a good  strategic vision of the future, the business you are building  may not be relevant to your market (sounds like too many enterprises we all know, right?).  With a good vision but bad execution the business you build may be nice looking on paper, but certainly not performing for the customer, your employees and your bank account.

Executing a strategy (process) demands relatively far more sustained leadership commitment, resource allocation, continuity, metric and time-horizon precision, and mass participation:  drawing the strategy is easier than actually executing it (process).

We’ve also seen that the “known deficiencies” in an organization’s execution capabilities (absent leadership, weak business process, metric vagueness, measurement imprecision, poor enabling technologies) actually bias, disable and dilute the Strategic process, i.e. “we know that our enterprise isn’t capable of really executing the strategies we actually need to execute, so we’ll just formulate some that we can.” (sound familiar?)

What Is Missing?

What gets measured gets done.

The problem is that most companies don’t improve processes with data instead they keep creating new processes to solve old process problems (adding tactics to existing marketing or operating processes). You can’t improve a process that isn’t being measured. Instead all you end up doing is spinning in circles with no forward advancement.  How do you know if anything has improved unless you have a measure?

The same issues apply to roles and responsibilities. Leadership deals with strategy. Management (all your employees are managers) deals with tactics. The difference between those that are in strategic roles vs. those in tactical roles is emphasis. So that means if there is no executive focusing on strategies and no managers focusing on related tactics then there is no progress worth measuring.

Tomorrow is about strategy while today is tactical.  However without relevant process data today and tomorrow are irrelevant.

Get it?

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