An Analogy of Strategy

Using an entertaining analogy, a strategy and its implementation can be compared to being in cross-country competitive road car races. You’ve entered car racing passionate, and are committed to win.

You struck a Business Plan on paper, and vetted it to ensure it is a viable option. You are now behind the wheel of the car, once again, with a team at the ready. You are understandably excited, and somewhat nervous. You appreciate that your team will continue to be tested on many fronts. You are ready!

A culture for the organization has been set at the top, and filtered throughout. It is well understood by all, and supported. You walk your talk.

You led your team in developing a strategy pointedly toward the vision. You all clearly understand the mission, and the overall purpose of why you are in this race. Your values are clearly evident and integrated into both policies and action. Realistically, you appreciate that these values will be tested, and you have bestowed upon your team the respective authority and responsibility to discharge their duties within the framework of the established culture and values of the organization. They’ve earned your trust, and yours theirs as the leader.

You feel confident in the strategy, and support the implementation plan. It is simplified and practical; it can be easily understood and referenced by the team, and evaluation points have been established along the way to make important and timely changes. It informs your stakeholders to what success will mean, and how it will be measured along the way measurable objectives

Each team member understands the tactics that will be undertaken, and how each area integrates effectively into the overall plan. The risks have been identified and understood - not just the obvious external ones, but also the internal organizational ones. Your management team knows which risks are going to be accepted due to their lower impact or a low probability of occurring, and have established mitigation plans for those risks with higher impact and/or higher probability of being realized .

Chances for success are greatly enhanced. You are confident. Your team is empowered. You all know what is to be done. You will not only be efficient, you will be effective. You know you are ready to put your vehicle into gear with greater confidence of a win.

The race is underway; the results are showing. You are hitting the milestones as planned, and managing the challenges effectively. You know, however, that in order to be successful you need to understand, as clearly as possible, the changing conditions in which you will be competing (macro and micro environmental scans); finding alternate routes when unexpected road blocks occur, and to regularly monitor to ensure that you continue to have the unique and sustainable competitive advantage.

“The ability to learn faster than competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

“-- Arie de Geus, strategist and author ”

Those occasional misses encourage an objective evaluation process; lessons are gleaned and processes tweaked. You empower and support your team to continually adapt and renew to an ever-changing environment. You are an adaptive, learning organization. You are strong.

As you have your eye clearly on the road and a focus on the race, you are maintaining a pulse on the organization; ensuring that continued relevant competencies and resources are in place, and that your stakeholders’ needs and promises are understood, and held uppermost in priority. These vitally important relationships are solid; they are mutually beneficial and meaningful.

Yes, it is a complex set of gears that you are managing, but you are passionate about the race and know that there are opportunities toward even further evolution as a company. Those that are supporting this endeavor believe in you, and your strategy. The horizon looks bright and promising.