It is human nature to avoid doing those tasks which we don’t enjoy. For some people, working on strategy is something to put off to another day.
Strategy can be time-consuming and complicated. It requires research, analysis, thinking. It means working with other people, some of whom may have different views to our own.
Meanwhile, the business needs to go on. So many things to do. So little time.
So we put off ‘doing strategy’ yet another day. Then something happens which draws us to it.
Many years ago, I worked selling advertising. It required a thorough understanding of the customer’s business through questioning and discussion. I found that doing this in-depth ‘need find’ as we called it, was a strength. Within the hour which we had allocated, the customer had found that they had managed to switch off from the day to day operations. For the first time in a long time, they were able to think about strategy. It led to some long-lasting customer relationships and some very productive advertising campaigns.
In that situation, discussing strategy was a means to an end for both of us. I didn’t request the appointment on the promise of discussing strategy. What the customer wanted were sales leads that they could convert into business. To get the right quality of sales leads, I needed to design advertising that was aligned with and worked with the customer’s strategy.
A strategy is and always will be a means to an end. We don’t spend time thinking about strategy for fun but as a response to challenges that we face.
Strategy, therefore, should be at the very top of our priorities.
Unfortunately, we may have very negative feelings about strategy.
As with anything in life that we fear, we must find a way of overcoming those negative feelings if we are to improve our situation.
To change our mindset to a more positive one, we need to work on our understanding of both strategy and communicating our strategy.
Once we develop this understanding, we find that rather than avoiding thinking, talking, writing, and visualizing our strategy; instead, we seek out opportunities to do so.