One of the most used and least understood terms in business is strategy. While nearly every organization’s success can be traced to a well-founded and directed plan of action, or strategy, many within today’s company hierarchy would be hard pressed to articulate their company’s strategic plan or their specific role in the process of implementation. Much of the misunderstanding stems from a lack of clear articulation of the plans content and who in the organization is responsible for its success.
The Roman philosopher Seneca is quoted as saying: “If a man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable.” Strategies role in any organization is to collectively focus its resources and assets on achieving a tightly defined course of action towards achieving a set of common goals and objectives. Flexibility is necessary in deploying a strategic plan in order to address original assumptions that become ineffectual when the plan meets the reality of an ever changing marketplace. But while some flexibility in the process is necessary, maintaining a clear focus on the desired objective is essential to garnering cooperation and understanding from all those who are on board.
Whether a company’s strategy is founded on the internal strengths and beliefs of the organization or guided by a belief based on their customer’s sense of the company’s value to fulfill their expectations, without a clear and compelling vision of where it is headed, an organization is destined to be lost.
The leader’s responsibility to its organization is to set forth a vision for the company that engages the understanding, acceptance and participation of its associates. Peter Drucker, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation noted, “An effective leader knows that the ultimate task of leadership is to create human energies and human vision.” While leadership provides the vision and forms the strategy, it is the organization that engages and carries through on its implementation. Successful strategy is dependent upon the participation and buy-in of all individuals in an organization who have clearly assigned roles and a timeline with predetermined milestones along the path to success.
Have you sufficiently defined the role of strategy in your organization?
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