While this could make sense as part of our “Buzzword Watch” series, we’re thinking “strategy” is in a class by itself. Follow along.
Sports analogies – “sport analogies” for the British in the crowd – are an awesome way to make sure you understand some of the business nuances. Such as “strategy.”
Objective: Win the game.
This brings us back to the title of this here blog post. And to an age-old question: why do you do what you do.
Not just in business, but in life.
A couple months ago, we did a four part series on the Marketing Martini Glass. It’s a series that turned Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs on Its Ear. And it reminded us of some business discussions we’ve had over the past (gasp) 20 years – discussions with really smart people in really good organizations.
There’s a maxim, going back those 20 years, that rings true, still:
The higher you are in an organization, the more you can throw around the word “strategy” and use it to avoid doing actual work.
Think strategically. Let’s be strategic. It’s important to think about the strategic reasons for doing this. We need a strategy session.
What you need are actual business objectives.
The actual business objectives – the why you do what it is you do as a business – are not only imperative to develop BEFORE your strategy session, they can be pretty darn liberating.
Back to the sport(s) analogies so you can see what it is we’re talking about.
Even the different disciplines within, say, a football coaching staff can have their own objectives. Objective, still, is to win the game. The Offensive Strategy might well be to “keep the opposition’s defense on the field by effectively running the football.” Tactics? Those are the plays the Offensive Coordinator calls: “off-tackle fullback dive,” or some such.
Quoting Sun Tzu: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
So how do the really savvy avoid work?
They throw around the word “strategy.” AND they keep it in the nebulous cloud between “objective” – which there may not be for whatever it is they’re doing – and “tactics” – which they may not fully understand, or have a grasp of, or be able to execute on.
The title of this blog post is tongue in cheek. There aren’t folks who are deliberately using strategy to avoid actual work.
But it can be pretty easy to do – having a Strategic Imperative without proper direction from above, or help from the trenches.
Great way to get out of doing actual work.