What is the secret to developing sustainable, long-term success?  According to Christian Mitreanu in Is Strategy a Bad Word, long term success happens when an organization learns to "understand and relate to its customers.  It is the ongoing cultivation of that understanding — based neither on specific competitors nor temporal objectives — which must be at the heart of any real strategy.  And it is that from which all objectives should naturally flow."

That’s quite a quote, don’t you think?  Particularly when you stop to reflect on the factors that may have been at the root of some of your most recent strategic shifts.  For example, how many times have you been motivated to try something new based on what you see another organization doing well?  Oh…you may not ever call them a competitor.  But if you’ve ever shifted your strategy in order to take advantage of a moment…you may want to think about the action in light of Mitreanu’s words here.

Want another idea to ponder?  How’s this one: "In an effort to increase the value of single offerings, the organization may be distracted from larger questions of structure, mission and opportunity."  That reminds me of the story about the cow that saw a little patch of greener grass just beyond the fence.  Working its way through a broken section of fence, the cow moved just 15 yards into the next field.  And that may have been ok, except that the cow noticed another green patch about 20 yards down the slope.  And when the sun went down the cow was a long way from where it was supposed to be.

Ever feel like some earlier move to take advantage of a new idea has moved you away from your original mission? 

The Heart of Real Strategy