Agility & Strategic Outcomes – The Perils of Rigid Adherence To A Strategy

Winning requires a clever strategy or plan, but that is not enough.  It requires agility too.   You have to respond speedily to the demands of the space in which you must compete.

Winning – the ability to out-manouever a competitor, to seize an opening in the marketplace or to avoid an imminent business threat – demands agility.  That applies equally to business as to F1 car racing.

winning-demands-agility

 

Imagine having a high powered and highly manoeuverable car (like a F1 car) and then putting it on a railway track!   Just like in racing to be successful any strategy or plan has to allow for flexibility and agility.

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Blindly following the course set out by a strategy is dangerous – especially if that strategy was set in a boardroom far removed from the realities of the marketplace, or set in the past (i.e. some 12 or 24 months ago).

The risks of rigid strategy

 

Managers can’t pursue a rigid strategy from which they can’t deviate.  Strategy should show the way, but allow flexibility in its implementation. It should be the road barriers rather than a railway track.

Strategy as a guide

 

In business just as in F1, the driver has a race strategy – one that has been carefully considered – however he or she has to be able to respond to; changing road conditions, the moves of competitor, hazards and obstacles.

Room to manouever

The reality is that things never go 100% to plan.  Situations change and those at the front line need to have the room to manoeuver – adapt to conditions as they emerge – to recognize that things are not working as planned and to take action.  That is what humans do best – adapt.   Successful execution requires passion, skill, intelligence and ingenuity.

the detailed strategy manual is dangerous

 

There is often a big difference between what managers and front line executives want from a strategy or plan.  Managers want details and specifics – in short they want control.  But what do you want?

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Want to fail?  Then stick to your plan.  Research suggests that sticking to the plan rigidily is key predictor of failure!Want to fail - then strick to your plan

The A in ‘FAST’ Strategy stands for agility.  To discover the rest of the characteristics of a fast strategy click here.

Strategic agility