Dead End Without Strategy

A week ago I was reading the Creating More Value with Corporate Strategy– McKinsey’s global survey results. Here’s a quick snapshot of the key findings of this survey:

1. Many corporations have emerged from the hunker-down mentality of the financial crisis with strong balance sheets and profits. Robust corporate strategy development will be essential to charting a future path to successful growth and returns.

2. Companies would do well to design an on-going corporate strategy-development process that explicitly tackles key corporate-level issues, such as resource reallocation, and that drives on major economic trends and other external factors.

3. Managers should forge much stronger links between corporate strategy and other key management processes, such as talent management and allocation of capital expenditures, to ensure that their strategies translate into meaningful action.

Reading this survey findings (with a clear emphasis on the importance of corporate strategy) made me curious to know how important was “sustainable strategic objectives” amongst corporates, business owners and managers (in my part of the world). So I put up a short poll. There were a total of 105 responses (from national level corporates across the region, independent business owners and executives working in both large national organisations and businesses).  Here’s how the scores pan out:

1.    Top of the list was “Commitment” with 40% votes

2.    Followed with a tie for the 2nd place between “Development of Sustainable Objectives” & “Leadership” with 20% votes each

3.    And at third place we had “Implementation and Measurement” with 10% of the votes.

Surprisingly, “team-work” did not garner a single vote! (But that’s a topic for another post). Whilst this little poll can’t be taken as conclusive evidence, it does give a clear indicator as to the importance of corporate strategy in business. And the results speak volumes!

Studying the comments received helped in understanding why commitment came in at the top as the most important quality. Strategic business planning (in daily management) does not occupy center-stage! It seems that the day to day process operations is the parameter in focus. A result, perhaps, of “survival” and “immediate gains” type of approach, that has been the business management credo since the global financial crisis.

Thus “commitment” was the key parameter that (respondents felt) was the need of the hour from senior management. Following this (of course) came in “leadership” and then “development of sustainable objectives”. Without commitment (from the top) and without leadership (direction) there would be no emphasis on developing sustainable strategies thus leading to a business operation that’s has no singular competitive advantage or edge.

So the question is do businesses want to recognise the changes in the landscape and put their commitment in developing sustainable strategies?Strategies that are based on identifying “community value” propositions and, thus, having a competitive edge.

Or do they want to remain in their current “comfort zones” of doing what they have been doing; using the same tools they have in the past? The result, for the latter route, would be extinction, in due course of time.

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