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Sailing ships

6 June 2015

Why strategy and rapid strategy implementation are becoming ever more important

Here’s a provocative statement – neither managers nor employers are decisive for a company’s success or failure, only the business model counts! I have encountered truly incompetent managers who have been extremely successful for a certain period of time and seen competent top executives fail to achieve their task of getting a company back on track. If you are in the right place at the right time and have the corresponding business model everything is easy! No skill is required.

We live in an era in which the trends associated with technology, demography and globalization are radically changing the status quo at ever shorter intervals. No matter whether we consider retail, the energy sector, the insurance industry, aviation, the armaments business, telecommunications or logistics, tomorrow’s success is not dependent on today’s business models.

Strategy is the means to the ends to consolidate our ability to compete today and safeguard tomorrow’s. It is used to scrutinize business models; to test their workability or to generate new models.

We separate the wheat from the chaff twice when doing so:

  1. We should not wait until we are already in panic mode to begin considering such issues – i.e. when we “suddenly” find ourselves confronted with an unpleasant competitive situation; a new technology; a regulatory requirement or changes in consumer demand. Instead, our actions should be based on an inner will, on true entrepreneurial maturity. Proactive, not reactive. This is strategy – stretching ourselves; questioning the status quo; going crazy in the positive sense; anticipating tomorrow’s reality. Whatever the case, it is impossible to develop strategy in panic mode.
  2. When we are ready to begin implementation. Strategy is, however, worthless in itself – unless it produces results! A well-thought-out idea, a precisely formulated target image needs to be turned into reality. Consistently and courageously. Strategy is also always a bet. And there are no sure bets. What risks are we prepared to take to safeguard tomorrow’s competitive strength? How will we manage the balancing act without putting existing business at risk while doing so? How will we master the change?

While in the past there was absolutely no necessity to answer such questions since the business model simply ‘worked’, today answers are required ever more often and ever more quickly. Thinking strategically; scrutinizing strategies quickly and precisely; refining them further and, above all, implementing them at high speed have become competitive advantages in themselves!

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