The Importance of Strategy

“Do you think it will work?” she asked.  We studied the two org charts — current and proposed — while we waited for our lunch order to arrive.  I gave her the standard consultant answer.

“That depends,” I said. “What are your goals?  Your strategies?  Your strategic plan?”  She looked sheepish.  “We don’t really have one,” she said.  “Then go for it,” was my reply.  “One structure has as good a chance as another.”

I find this a lot.  There is more to leadership than setting direction, but your strategy is what makes everything else relevant.  If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t really matter what your vehicle looks like.

Do you have the right org structure?  I don’t know, what is your strategy?

Do I have the right controls in place?  I don’t know, what is your strategy?

Should we change our culture?  I don’t know, what is your strategy?

So, does strategy matter?  Yes, and it must be done first. Everything else will need to follow and be evaluated in context of your strategic plan.  In fact, the direction you pursue (while important) has less bearing on your success than having a clearly defined and communicated direction.

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