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Bruce Holland

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Strategy is Top of the Pops

After several years when strategy seemed to fall out of favour, it's suddenly top of the pops again. Following a period when the old ways have so obviously failed, everyone wants to think through their direction and their business model.

Definition of strategy

Strategy is about being strongest at the decisive point. It's about finding out what really matters (what's decisive) and putting your horsepower behind that point. The analogy is of a sharp knife that cuts through easily or a magnifying glass that focuses the sun until fire occurs.

Strategy is about big difficult to change decisions. Decisions about the organisation's focus, the investment of resources, and how to coordinate activities across the organisation. These may be costly, time-consuming or simply impossible to change outside the strategic process.

Strategy is about tradeoffs, especial clarity around the Value Proposition. One of the most difficult things about strategy is deciding what you are going to give up (or tradeoff) so that you can focus more resources on what really matters. Organisations that don't have sufficient courage to tradeoff what does not matter for what does matter become boring and meaningless to their customers.

Strategy is one of only four things managers do that matters

Managers get involved in many activities. Some of them add value, many don't. A five-year study separated the facts from the fads in terms of management tools. The study examined over 200 well-established management practices, over a 10 year period in 160 companies and found most management tools had no direct impact on superior business performance. Strategy was one of only four tools that really mattered.

For more details ...

Managers are not focusing on strategy

Even though strategy is one of the four most important things a manager can do, in a recent survey it was found that 85% of management teams spend less than one hour a month discussing their strategies.

Another recent American Management Association's survey unearthed the alarming statistic that executives spend about 75% of their valuable time 'putting out fires'. In other words, even though focusing on the future is what matters, managers are focussing on the past.

Strategic workshops are usually boring and a waste of time

The truth is, strategy is hard work and most strategic workshops are so boring managers avoid them like the dentist. Also, they are a waste of time because nothing much changes after the sessions.

I have been told that managers go to these gatherings mainly to network and play golf. They are anaesthetised by hundreds of Power Point slides. Panel discussions are often sequential, unrelated ten-minute speeches. Nobody gets inspired; everyone suffers from bad backs and hangovers. The off-sites are merely excuses for the CEO to tell people what's already been decided. If you'd like a different approach...

Strategic workshops can be fun, creative and energising

Strategic workshops don't have to be boring, they can be fun, creative and energising. For a real example see...

Probable outcomes of strategy done properly

  1. The probable outcomes from doing strategy properly are:
  2. Far more focus on what really matters
  3. Taps into the wisdom of your people
  4. Improves ownership and commitment to the vision, values and strategies
  5. More knowledge and understanding of the marketplace especially customers, competitors and opportunities
  6. More energy and more focus on the goals, with everyone working to the same agenda
  7. Fewer unwanted surprises
  8. People happier about working as a team and more committed to the team
  9. More collaboration and participation because everyone understands their role
  10. A sense of accomplishment
  11. Process develops into a positive self-reinforcing cycle.

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Help liberate the human spirit at work.

Warmest wishes

Bruce Holland
Virtual Group Business Consultants
Phone +6421620456 or Skype Bruce.Holland
Web site:

Bruce helps large mature organisations be more focused, fast and flexible. Places where people have more depth, connection and meaning. "Liberating the Human spirit at work"

Bruce helps large mature organisations be more focused, fast and flexible. Places where people have more depth, connection and meaning. He is one of New Zealand's most experienced change agents and is the founder of Virtual Group Business Consultants Limited.

"Liberating the Human spirit at work."

Key words: strategy, strategies, business strategy, business strategies, strategy management, strategic management, strategy development, implementation.

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