Face It, Maybe You And I Are Not As Good At Strategy As We Think


Photo: Edward Webb via Flickr

To be honest I could probably make a compare and contrast list between business strategy and sex; but I decided against that.Instead, I want to focus on just this one thing business strategy has in common with sex: both are on the short list of things almost everybody assumes they do well, and for which it takes bad news to prove them wrong.

We have to learn a lot of things.You take swimming lessons, and you learn maths in school.Tennis, golf? Everybody takes lessons. But you’re good at strategy automatically; and, well, sorry to mention it, but also, sex. Or so we all believe.

I used to think it was strategy, driving, and sex. But in the last few years I’ve realised some people know they’re bad drivers.There’s progress.

I first realised this about 30 years ago when I was a vice president with Creative Strategies International. We sold market research easily, strategy with great difficulty. And that’s because, I came to believe, everybody feels great with strategy.

Don’t you?

Having watched this phenomenon for several decades now, I do think there’s a kernel of truth in this business strategy phenomenon. Think of any successful strategy you know of … doesn’t it seem obvious, after the fact? The problem is that a good strategy does seem obvious; but only after it becomes visible. The hard part is to think it up before it’s obvious.

This article originally appeared at Planning Startup Stories and is republished here with permissions.

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