Getting your business strategy right is one of the most important – and most difficult jobs of any management team. Whether you run a company, a business unit within a company or a product or service line within a business unit, without a clear and effective strategy, you can not achieve your full business potential. You will find yourself missing your targets and caught blindsided by industry disruptions that undercut your business. However, getting the right strategy in place is challenging - especially given all the urgent tasks and daily fires you face.
The key to developing effective strategy is not about finding the perfect strategic framework or the one killer analytical insight that unlocks the future. The key to effective strategy is about getting the strategy process right. The Strategy Bootcamp helps you overcome 6 common pitfalls that businesses experience when they develop strategy and 4 common pitfalls businesses experience when they work with external management consultants to help them develop their strategy.
6 Common Pitfalls In Developing Business Strategy
There are 6 common process pitfalls that typically lead to the development of ineffective business strategies.
1. Strategy as an ad-hoc process: Rather than conducting a systematic and thorough strategy process that draws together all of the insights you need to set an effective strategic course, strategy is often pieced together through ad hoc conversations and analytics. Frequently executives tasked with creating strategy do it as a “side activity” alongside their day job – and while they know their business better than anyone, they simply don’t have the time to undertake a thorough strategy process.
2. Focusing on today. Too often business strategy is developed to address the challenges and targets of today, rather than positioning the business for the opportunities and threats of the future. Strategy is developed as a way to justify next year’s budgetary allocation rather than to identify how to compete and win in the long run.
3. Depending too heavily on internal perspectives & knowledge. You know your business better than anyone else in the world. But as critical as that knowledge is, too much internal focus can create a limitation in your perspective about strategic opportunities and threats.
4. Intuition driven rather than fact driven. Strategy is both an art and a science. It is about imagining what the world will become for your market, your customers, and your competitors – but those imaginings must be based on real facts and data. Too often strategy is conducted as a purely visionary process, rather than a rigorous empirical process of gathering facts and assembling them into a coherent story about the future.
5. Team not aligned or bought-in on strategy. Some of the best business strategies fail not because they were wrong but because there was not sufficient buy-in or alignment around the strategy when it was developed. It is often said that a good strategy is worthless without effective execution. But effective execution is not possible without first establishing clear alignment and buy-in around a shared strategic vision.
6. Lack of time & skills for strategy. The five pitfalls above are often simply the result of not dedicating the time required to create effective strategy, or not having the right skill set on your team. Strategy is a developed skill set. Often times business leaders who are masters at their particular function are expected to transfer those skills instantly to strategy development.
4 Common Pitfalls Of Strategy Management Consulting
In the face of these 6 pitfalls to strategy development, many businesses decide that the best thing to do is to outsource strategy development to external management consultants or consulting firms. This unfortunately also is a process ripe with pitfalls.
1. External consultants don’t understand the inner workings of the business. No matter how smart or how much experience an external consultant may have, they really don’t know your business. And while you may have worked with a particular lead consultant for many years, they can often bring teams in to run an engagement who have never even worked in your industry before.
2. Helicopter delivery without buy-in & commitment beyond project sponsors. Management consulting strategy engagements can be a little like papal conclaves. The management consulting team huddles in a private room at all hours of the day and night furiously producing charts and scribbling storylines on a white board. Finally, white smoke comes from the team room and your strategy deck is ready. It is walked around to a few project sponsors for input – edits are made, and the deck is presented at an executive or board meeting. The engagement is over, the consultant’s team room is cleaned up, and most of your company’s leaders wonder about what happened for a few days, before they forget about it all and go back to their day-to-day job continuing along as things were before the consulting team showed up.
3. No skills development. Not only do management consulting strategy engagements often leave you with a strategy that few leaders in your company buy-in to – but they often do not lead to any strategy capability building in your own team. An effective strategy process is not only about getting to the right answer on a one-time strategic question, but building your team’s strategic capabilities and skills in the long run so you can continue to evolve your strategy as your markets, customers and competitors change.
4. Cost. Most businesses simply can’t afford this price tag associated with top-tier management consultants and so go with B or C list firms instead. Unfortunately, here you often get what you pay for and the result is B or C list strategies.
The Strategy Bootcamp Offers A Better Way
The Strategy Bootcamp is a better way to create strategy which helps you overcome the 10 pitfalls described above. The Strategy Bootcamp is a systematic strategy process that we conduct in partnership with your teams and leaders. It starts with Kannetic’s Strategy Assessment solution which allows your leadership team to assess where your current strategy process is strong and where it can be improved. The Strategy Bootcamp guides your team through a learning-by-doing process that supports you to define or refine your business strategy while building the strategy skills and capabilities of your team.
The Strategy Bootcamp helps you effectively identify and tackle the strategic challenges of tomorrow, while building the team buy-in you need to execute that strategy and the skills you need to continue to develop effective strategy long into the future. Because the bootcamp is a strategy refinement process conducted with your team and leaders, the bootcamp is a fraction of the cost of a traditional management consulting firm strategy engagement while providing better long term results actually based in a real understanding of the inner workings of your business.
The Strategy Bootcamp involves a series of workshops and coaching sessions delivered by Kannetic co-founder, Dr. Darren Noy. Darren spent nearly 5 years as a core member of the strategy practice at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company - where he lead strategy engagements across industries, as well as the development of proprietary strategy tools for the firm. He later worked as a product leader at the cybersecurity company Symantec, where he was asked to runstrategy development projects for both business units and the enterprise as a whole. Darren has continued to serve as an independent strategy consultant, working with companies large and small on strategy projects.
If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you develop an effective business strategy, while aligning your team on your strategy and improving the strategy development capabilities of your team, contact us below.