Strategy Reality Checkpoint – Does Your Strategy Need to Change?
Is your strategy outdated? Does it need to change? Has it needed
a change for some time, you just haven’t noticed? Robert Bradford
suggested that “old strategies almost always stop working, eventually.”
I laughed when I saw all those qualifiers (almost, always, eventually),
but the point is a good one – let’s look at it.
Robert’s comments made me think, “How would you know your
strategy needs a tune-up, or perhaps a replacement?”
Robert implies that some (I would say a majority) wait until
they are on the ropes to figure out they need a change. If this
is you, I have two suggestions to help you avoid being late
and reactive… but first let’s summarize Robert’s blog.
He believes there are three reasons “Why your currently
successful strategy is likely to break.”
1. Technology – can change the value proposition upon which
your current strategy is based
2. Imitation – from competitors encroaches on your market
share forcing you to adopt new strategies.
3. Replacement – there’s an entire paradigm change, your product,
your buyers, your customer base discontinues, goes away.
OK, so let’s say your strategy needs to change based upon personnel
changes, market changes, etc. It seems obvious that if you wait too long
to respond you run out of time, money and eventually people.
So how do you know when to change, e.g. when to change before
your losses begin piling up. You know, be strategic about how long
you stick with a part of your strategic plan?
Here’s two suggestions, see what you think.
1. Tie your strategy to measurable outcomes. If you don’t have an
ongoing process for measuring your outcomes, measuring how
“that strategy is working for you”, by definition you will be late to
recognize and make a strategy change. In fact you’ll probably spend
time ignoring or justifying why the strategy will (still) work, if you are
not tracking real data.
2. Define the market and customer assumptions your strategy
is based upon and periodically review them to make sure they are
still valid. Given how fast things change, if you haven’t validated the
assumptions holding up your selection of initiatives driving your
strategic plan, you can count on them being outdated.
If most strategies eventually no longer work, you’ll want to have
a process that recognizes the need for a strategy change early,
not late. You probably have some initiatives in your strategy currently
that aren’t delivering the outcomes intended, and need a change.
Use the methods of 1. Outcome measurement and 2. Assumption
validation to avoid being late changing out flagging strategies. I
use the scorecards and progress updates in ManagePro to help me
stay on top of both processes and manage more strategically.