For many managers, the word strategy conjures up thoughts of gigantic PowerPoint decks, binders collecting dust and general confusion. A survey by Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Management found that 67 percent of managers believe their organization is bad at developing strategy.
At the heart of most strategy challenges is a lack of clarity as to what strategy is and how it differs from some of the other key business planning terms.
Harvard Business School professor David Collis is even more direct: “It’s a dirty little secret: Most executives cannot articulate the objective, scope, and advantage of their business in a simple statement. If they can’t, neither can anyone else.” Martin’s research supports this point: 43 percent of managers cannot state their own strategy.
What seems to be the cause of this lack of performance when it comes to strategy?
To more effectively develop and execute strategy, it stands to reason that we need to better understand it. In order to better understand it, we need to be skilled at thinking about it.
Not only does a leader need to be able to generate fresh strategic insights on a regular basis, he or she needs to be able to harness insights from their employees’ best thinking as well by facilitating strategy conversations. The ability to then package their strategic thinking and communicate strategy in a simple, persuasive, and concise manner is just as critical.
>> To learn more about strategy challenges for leaders, download Strategic Thinking by Rich Horwath, CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute.