By Robert Craven, MD at Directors Centre.

Strategy is a subject that people like to refer to, but often they don't really know what they mean by the word.

We should not be surprised that many people find it difficult to actually think strategically when they are unclear about what strategy is all about.

Commonly asked questions include:

- "Does our company have a strategy? Is it the right one?"

- "What exactly do we mean by a strategy?"

- "How should we go about designing our strategy?"

Before talking about the actual "doing" of strategy, let's be clear about some of the "strategy" issues, and why strategy can go wrong. There is a requirement to do things in a different way from the old way. After all, if you keep doing what you have always done, then you will keep getting the same (not better) results; and to expect a different result from doing the same thing is a definition of insanity!

The Problem

The main complaints about the strategy process are:

- There is little agreement about what strategy actually is and what it does

- It gets lost, uncoordinated, frustrating, messy and unfinished - there is lack of focus and clarity

- Most people involved either question their own ability to contribute, or arrogantly dominate and suffocate the process

- No SMART goals are achieved (SMART is an acronym that is used to remind us that goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-based)

- Fear of the future, combined with fear of failure, makes the team behave like reindeer freezing on the road when blinded by the headlights of the oncoming lorry

- Management 'speaking in tongues' parading as science - the tools are not helpful - they are superficial, confusing and too theoretical.

In a nutshell, there are three reasons why strategy does not work:

Why Strategy Doesn't Work #1 Types Of Strategic Thinking

Why Strategy Doesn't Work #2 No Clarity Of Purpose

Why Strategy Doesn't Work #3 The Use Of Tools And Theories

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