Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Know Strategy, Use Strategy

The article “Can You Say What Your Strategy Is?” shocked me by pointing out the fact that most executives, including “the best” , could not clearly articulate the objective, scope, and advantage of their business strategy in 35 words or less. As a career-long corporate world man, it is unbelievable that something like that could occur, especially given the constant drum beat of mission, vision, and values that employees hear.

 I like the way the authors broke down the ideas of strategy that should be included in the brief strategy statement. For one reason, as a (now former) auditor, the notions of objective and scope were at the forefront of all that I did. You objective provided purpose to the audit and the scope provided what was being reviewed. Those are the same concepts that the authors used for the same elements (me thinks someone was an auditor at some point in their career).  When you have those ideas in place, it aids in decision-making tremendously. I agree that the advantage is the most crucial part of the strategy statement because it set you apart from your competition, which (hopefully) sells you to the customers in the market.
 The ideas found in the “Can You Say” article were also important in the article “Bring Science to the Art of Strategy”, especially in the part where the strategic possibilities were being generated by the group(s). Unless there is a set standard under which groups should work, the choices that would be proposed would not fix the problems the strategy is supposed to address.  I like the workflow the “Science” article provided in their strategy sessions. It is logical in being able to address all concerns, while providing the means to let imaginative thoughts be unleashed.
I believe the “Science” article would be a beneficial reference for, Bob Holland, the new Ben and Jerry’s CEO in the case study for two reasons. First, the sessions explained in the article fit into the culture of Ben and Jerry’s, which is anti-“normal” in the corporate world. This doesn’t involve a few of the big wigs locking themselves in an office to devise a scheme independent of what others think. It includes all sorts of people, some of whom may never have an opportunity to voice their opinion without such a forum.  Second, Ben and Jerry’s goal is to make the world a better place through ice cream and awareness. The strategy sessions from the “Science” article affirm the notion that putting our heads together as a society, we can solve problems. Plus let’s face it, all can be made better if there’s free ice cream involved.
 I’m just sayin’!

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