I just read a great article by Michael E. Porter, "What is Strategy?" It was referred to in The Strategy-Focused Organization, a very helpful book that I’ve been working my way through. The Porter article is very insightful, tremendously helpful for any organization attempting to determine what next steps to take.
Maybe you’re like the team that I’m part of and you’ve spent months (I actually think our team spent several years) developing a new purpose/mission statement. Now we’re taking the same, somewhat languid, approach to dream up a compelling statement that will capture the essence of our vision. Cool. Wish it was more front-burner. But still good.
But, the question that I have is this: once we articulate that vision will we have the guts to focus on the things that will actually get us to that place we’re dreaming of? And that is where strategy fits in. And that is where many attempts to actually DO SOMETHING fail.
Porter makes several really helpful points. Over the next few days I’ll focus on a few of them, and here’s the first: Operational effectiveness is necessary, but not sufficient. Here’s his point…every management tool or technique that has been developed (Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, reengineering, change management, etc.), while designed to produce greater operational effectiveness, do not replace strategy. It is the combination of operational effectiveness (doing the best job possible with the resources that you have) and strategy (the intentional choice of certain activities over others) that will produce the greatest results.
Here’s the question for today: once you know where you’d like to go are you willing to choose to do only those activities that will get you there?