Most leaders reach the upper echelons of management never having written or developed an operational strategy.
It is therefore common for companies either not to have an operations strategy, or at best to have one that is neither fit for purpose, or actually works against the interests of the business and it’s customers.
Take for example the current vogue in food manufacturing to implement a poor man’s version of the Toyota Production System. Whilst most of the principles for managing waste are clearly correct, few are adapted properly for the food manufacturing world, or their customers. Gains in efficiency and waste reduction are proving difficult to sustain, whilst the methods employed are actually limiting performance ambitions, reducing customer choice and service, and creating a generation of managers convinced that what they are doing is the right thing.
A good strategy not only incorporates the positive aspects of lean (say), but does so by considering the context, and aligns both approach and implementation with other business functions. It also incorporates at it’s heart the consideration of how target behaviours will be moved to achieve and sustain any changes required. Finally, it has to be real, meaningful and possible to be acted upon following a logic and rationale that can be communicated and understood.
I want to write it, but can you help?
We have done this for clients in the past very successfully, providing a framework with clear guidance, and a review process to ensure that each aspect of the strategy is clear, and logical, and aligned.
How do I know if our strategy is any good, or if it can be improved?
We can audit your strategy and highlight conflicts, gaps and potential issues. This allows you to make adjustments and correct the strategy to ensure that it will represent your best chance of achieving your strategic objectives.
Strategy? Why do we need a strategy?
There are many businesses, mostly those that have been successfully grown from private ownership over many years, where the owner and CEO sees no value at all in strategy. More specifically, any professional Director coming in to that environment finds it impossible to even mention the word strategy.
Strategy can be perceived to have no value, to be far removed from the ‘muck and bullets’ of making money. It is left for consultants, and academics, to write fancy reports which stay on the shelf, whilst the ‘real business’ of making money carries on regardless.
This view isn’t helped by consultants who reinforce the high-cost, low-value style ‘strategic reviews’. The language is often difficult, the analysis weak, and the resulting recommendations near impossible to implement.
Hence, the starting point for good strategy must be based in good analysis, in presenting facts in a manner that allows decision makers to understand exactly what actions to take, and how much it is worth. For a good strategy is not so much a new door-stop, or paperweight. Rather it should be an idea that inspires, an easily understood concept that can be communicated in seconds, a flag around which people can gather, and a beacon toward which people can travel. If your strategy is any of these things, you’ve got a good one.