The general approach to building growth strategy is an annual tedious exercise which is usually good for corporate submissions and has nothing to do with real life. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, its not far from the truth. And also quite often this exercise is delegated to external consultants who make more money if the process is more complex, takes a significant amount of time and produces a voluminous document.
In my 34 years of experience as an executive, a business leader and then head of strategy I realized a few things :
- Strategic management is a live process – It is dynamic and lives in the minds of senior management and board. It provides a backdrop for ALL actions and needs to be agile in response to environment changes. To do this it needs to be simple.
- Strategy works only if it is owned by the leadership and reflected in the resource commitments – In many organizations the leadership has ‘nice’ people who don’t say no to initiatives, are not comfortable with dropping low return products or geographies but don’t necessarily believe in them as reflected in the resourcing during business planning. This leads to poor clarity of direction and lackluster implementation with little impact on business.
- Strategy needs focus, alignment and commitment : A sharp focus on a few key initiatives, full alignment among the management team that these indeed are essential for winning and commitment to stick with execution even if short term results are different than expected is critical to success.
To enable all the above I have created – and used for several years – a process called OSCAR. The process is simple, involves the management team in strategic choices and action plan creation and sets up metrics for tracking execution.