Strategy needs context not another strategy!

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Strategy needs context not another strategy!

This week I’ve seen a few references to a new piece of work by the Boston Consulting Group’s all about how your strategy needs a strategy – they’ve even given it their own hashtag.

Now, I generally have a lot of respect for BCG. They understand certain industry sectors very well and have some top class consultants, however, with this new position paper they seem to have taken their lead from the school of rather ridiculous headlines.

What they say underneath the fluff is fair enough, but it’s not rocket science, not new and is pretty much a case of the emperor’s new clothes.

So what does their #strategyneedsstrategy mean?

In essence what they’re saying is that when you develop the strategy for your business, you need to consider the environment / marketplace in which you operate, your available resources and the proposition you offer to the marketplace. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do loads of research, you probably know your market pretty well if you’ve been operating in it for a while. What it does mean though, is that you have to consider the things that are happening or may happen and listen to your customers. It is possible to predict what your customers will want – Steve Jobs was famed for this approach, but he didn’t do his thinking in total isolation – he understood the psyche of the consumers of his products and put that to work with his ideas and the capability of the technology he could develop.  Frankly, in my opinion, if you attempted to develop a business strategy without looking at the market and your resources you’d be nuts anyway!

A strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. The tactics you employ may be, but if a strategy can’t be articulated in less than a few minutes, the chances are it’s not a strategy, it’s a plan.

So does a strategy need a strategy? Not really  – it needs to consider the external market and internal business factors that will influence it. I’d say it’s more a case of #strategyneedscontext

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