The value of strategy is more important than ever. It serves as a plan of action, determining what we are going to do next. Therefore, today more than ever strategy is a critical success factor for leadership. However, first, we need to re-think the process and role of strategic planning.
Real Strategy Comes From Real Conversations
Usually, the annual strategic planning process has been the responsibility of the chief strategist. Who leads a series of deliverables and meetings among senior leaders according to a set calendar. They also commit a significant amount of time and resources to the process. The case of rapid advancement in vaccination is a point to consider.
Conversations reveal insights and value based on a rapidly changing world. Today’s unpredictable environment is compatible with just that. Therefore, results amplify by the importance of agility.
Hence, making an oxymoron out of traditional ways of strategic planning. In other words, the value of strategy.
Real Value Is A Challenge
The importance of real conversations lies in challenging viewpoints which usually happen in smaller groups. Preferably not exceeding 3-5 in number. Participants learn because an exchange is a two-way street. Once the group grows in size, it becomes an enormous task to ensure that everyone can participate meaningfully.
It is in do or die moments that leadership is challenged. Having principles and guidelines helps. Like:
Practice leadership through sharing responsibility, risk and decision making
Transparency of information leads to meaningful conversations leading to better strategy formulation
Create cross functional channels for innovative thinking
Embrace the value of failure in order to learn and become better leaders
Encourage and bring additional strategic minds on board
Real Strategy is Made in Real-Time
Pakistan’s remarkable success in controlling the pandemic is attributed to the real-time Smart Lockdowns Strategy.
Given how similar neighbors India and Pakistan are on factors like genetic makeup and culture, policy factors explain this difference. Consequently, India is the second-largest in terms of cases. While India enforcing the world’s harshest lockdown, Pakistan barely has one.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan actively campaigning against the idea of a full lockdown, in an address to the nation as early as March 2020.
“Our problem is that 25% of Pakistanis are below the poverty line. They can’t even afford two square meals a day. If working-class Pakistanis are locked up for two weeks, how will they feed their families?
It follows, then, the value of the strategy is :
✅ To challenge the strategy by testing assumptions about the market.
✅ To make sure that key decision-makers have a solid understanding of the business, data, analysis, and assumptions.
Therefore, the starting point should be thinking differently about what it means to develop a great strategy