Writing in Forbes, Rick Smith asks, “Is Strategy Dead? 7 Reasons The Answer May Be Yes.” He makes some excellent points, but in my opinion strategy is not dead but only the starting point for a company – not the final product. In other words, planning is great, but the plan does not win the battle. What does win is executing the plan well and being able to adapt it in near real-time as conditions change.
I have seen many leaders who think their job is finished once they have developed a plan. On the contrary, I believe leaders earn their keep by how well they deliver results as the plan is implemented. Carrying out the plan requires just as much rigor as developing the strategy in the first place. Having a system to assist in the execution can make a huge difference between success and failure.
That’s why I think this quote from Smith’s piece is so insightful:
“In the end, your company’s strategy is nothing more than the collective actions of all of your employees, and these actions are being guided less by strategies thoughtfully crafted within wood paneled conference rooms, and more by speed, unpredictability and sweeping change occurring on a dynamically evolving battlefield.”
Being able to regularly capture those actions and employees’ perceptions of how well they are tracking toward their individual goals – which should support a clear set of corporate goals – is indispensable to trying to adapt to quickly changing conditions.