In defence of strategy

June 15th 2015

Strategy is taught in military and business schools all over the world. It permeated every aspect of my business degree and I took to it like a duck to water. Others seem to get it in a sort of foggy-bottom way; I was thrilled to find my thinking isn't oddball after all.

But today strategic planning is challenged as yesterday’s method, as being onerous, weighty, and inflexible and not the golden egg after-all. Boorama agrees that the methods and plans can be hard-boiled and rotting but we contest the problem isn’t the egg at all it’s the inflexible thinking that’s imposed over the concept that lets us down.

There are new trendy business models that simplify the complexity of the big gun strategy and they add some nice twists. They have their place and we draw on whichever is the most suitable for each situation but we do not espouse any particular model, partly because we know that somewhere in the DNA of every new model is the strategic gene.

Humans are hard-wired to take stock of where we are, to see or imagine another green field, to want to move there and to figure out how to do it. Some flock to it and others approach it tentatively but we all get to it in some way. To succeed, we aim for the lure of maximum rewards. To avoid death, we want to know how many woolly mammoths we’ll have to fend off along the way and where they hide. Hard wired!

Many micro and small businesses in particular don’t need the big heavy hitter of Corporate Strategic Planning. Each client’s situation and need is different and there is no such thing as one way – the only way. Sometimes structured documented and formal ways are relevant even for micro businesses.

We understand that MS&MSBs, particularly today, want to operate in informal and fluid ways. We love these qualities and have no desire to turn any business into a miniature image of a cumbersome global corporation.

As technology drives unprecedented structural changes, flexibility and agility have become the golden egg in their goals. These were once the prized treasure of the small not supersized. When supersized chases the golden egg in MS&MSBs, the little players can no longer hide. The rapid and dramatic change in business structures means increasingly that the big players are small and micro.

How will the old school MS&MSB’s survive in this wild and unfamiliar environment? Business models are a tool to facilitate processes whether big and complex or small and simplified. Whether corporate strategic planning or variations on the theme, strategic capabilities start and end with thinking. The majority of those who get it may have learnt the methods and the processes; few think it naturally. Seek them out and don’t ignore them.