How do we debate strategy?
According to recent studies, many companies are not realizing their full potential. Indications are that 40-60% of a company’s strategic potential is not realized. There are probably many reasons for this, but today I would like to focus on one factor that I think is valuable.
This summer I hired a brand new Camaro. My friend was very impressed with the all the sensors the car had. Whenever I reversed, I could see where I went in a camera in the mirror. I could hear sounds indicating how close I was to the objects and I could see lines stipulating where I was heading. So based on all these sensors and a very good GPS we had a wonderful time in the US and made our way around. This made me think.
Do corporations have “sensors”? That tells them where to steer and maneuver in this fast-changing business world? I was thinking back on conversations that I have had with people over the years. People telling me “I knew this would happen”, “we all knew”, “we tried to warn about this”, “this was the market knowledge that we had but the management did not act upon it”.
There are people in your organization who are these “strategic sensors”. They are all over the company and have valuable knowledge – knowledge about customers’ needs, market development, drivers, and competition etc. – factors that are crucial for their company’s future development. Make sure that you find your company’s “strategic sensors”. They might be disabled by managers who filter information on its way to the top.
Make sure that you engage most of the strategic sensors your company have. Of course, there will be a lot of sensors giving wrong indications, but can you afford not checking them out?
In order to enable the sensors to function, you need to create a culture for sharing new ideas, forwarding new hypothesis, and also create arenas to share and establish a common language on how to debate on strategy.
Probably you should send your employees to the Strategy Debate University where the strategic sensors come to life?! Or maybe you could create this internally in your own organization?