While Strategic Planning is a discipline followed annually by nearly all successful companies, rarely is the question asked, "But what's the strategy?" A strategic plan is not a strategy unto itself.
"What's the strategy?" is a daunting question that becomes increasingly elusive as a business matures. First multiple products or services, then several lines of business and ultimately whole business units evolve. In a few cases, conglomerates emerge. As a business becomes more complex, these structures are created to enable the organization to be managed. Yet the paradox is that the more we organize the business, the less the parts of the business tend to serve the same purpose. Managing this paradox is at the core of large organization strategy and when neglected, large organizations tend to be propelled by little more than scale and momentum.
When a company has departed from its core strategy, whether a few years ago or a century ago, it's a good idea to revisit and rewrite that strategy. It's something we recommend reviewing every one to three years (depending on the pace of industry change), but if done right, core strategy should only have to be created once every ten to twenty years.
The Lean Methods Group’s approach to Lean Strategy is to apply a highly collaborative methodology that enables your team to develop strategy. By developing strategy yourselves, the inherent issues of understanding and acceptance are effectively negated because your team takes ownership; it's not a consultant's strategy.
A strategic thinker learns how to plan for what is possible and to be prepared to react to the improbable.
Success is typically elusive when all elements of strategy are not considered in the mix.