Relevant vs. Relative Strategies

by Jay Deragon on 08/22/2012

Strategic development is not a static event rather it is a dynamic process that evolves over time. Strategies that rely on past thinking, old business models and the traditional approach to strategic development simply are not fit for the 21st Century.

The thinking behind strategy and the existing models must change because everything that goes into developing and executing a strategy is changing.

You’d have to live on an isolated island to not recognize that markets, economics, technology, employees, customers, suppliers and the entire infratructure to support all of it has changed.

Three Critical Changes In Strategic Thinking

Recent developments in “strategic thinking” points clearly towards the conclusion that the critical strategic question is not the conventional “What?”, but “Why?” or “How”.  “What” no longer matters unless the people know “why” (meaning & purpose). and “how” (participation, execution and change).

Three particular critical elements are the forces behind the change in thinking.

  1. The first is that strategically it is now more critical to decide what the organization is not going to do, than specifically what it thinks it must do. Ill informed strategic decisions now will create legacy systems, processes and thinking that may well limit the flexibility required to constantly adjust to the changing market dynamics. (strategic focus)
  2. The second is that strategic advantage is more than ever being driven by the human factor – the organization that attracts, inspires and retains talent is well ahead strategically. And talent is smart, very quick to identify dynamic organizations, where forward thinking, capacity building and proactive strategies give hope for future organizational effectiveness in coping with the rapid change (human factors). Your current employees, including managers, may be relevant today but not relative for tomorrows challenges.
  3. The third is that an organization’s capability to adapt strategically is primarily determined by the leadership – or lack of leadership. Proactive, forward thinking leadership will identify what capabilities are required in the future and put them in place ahead of time (needs assessment).  They are likely to keep their organizations in a continual state of change, but within a clear strategic field, clearly identifying what is ‘out of play’ on their strategic journey. Excuses and justification not to change entrenched thinking and behavior has to be “out of play”.

Business strategy is an idea whose time has come once again. But new rules for competing require some fresh thinking.

The strategic concepts of the past were developed based on old business infrastructures, models and environments that were slow to change.  Those concepts are relevant but the application of yesterdays strategic thinking does not work because the models are not relative to the dynamics of today’s marketplace.  Get it?

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