Everyone needs a game plan

Author: Warren Knight

In this blog, Director Consultant Warren Knight explores the redefinition of strategy as a game plan, one that is practical and linked to manager’s challenges.

Strategy is changing…Everyone needs a game plan.


Strategy is just for CEOs, isn’t it?

When ‘strategy’ is mentioned in the context of business, what do you visualise? For many, a high level, long-ranging plan for the whole organisation springs to mind, developed by ‘Heads of Strategy’ and being big and broad in terms. Strategy with a capital ‘S’: analysing market forces; identifying competitive advantages; making investment portfolio decisions etc.

Based on this perception, it would be easy to believe strategy is the sole property of CEOs of large corporations and their top leadership teams. If, however, we change the context to say sport or games and use the general definition of strategy being a plan to achieve a long-term aim, we begin to see its significance to all managers, of organisations both large and small.

Whether our accountabilities are for a corporation, business unit, function or team, as managers we all have customers and stakeholders to serve and so share one fundamental goal: to maximise the value the organisation delivers, now and in the future. We therefore also share the challenges that come with achieving it, typical ones being ‘how shall I best spend my budget’ and ‘what are the real priorities I should take notice of’.

Developing organisational capability today for increased value tomorrow

To use a sporting analogy, the goal as described requires managers to play both a short and long game. I am sure we all have a good short game because let’s face it, that’s what we are paid to do; manage! But what about our long game? How much effort should we devote to the leadership aspect of our role, in terms of considering the future and planning our response?

Striking the right balance between the two is essential. You need to have one eye on the here and now situation whilst the other is looking ahead and deciding where it is that you want to go over the next few years. If you concentrate too heavily on the current situation and react to what others are doing, it is unlikely that you will make progress overall. This means planning how we will develop our organisational capability today so that we can deliver increased value tomorrow.

The importance of such activities is further increased when we consider that the rules of the game are not fixed. Today’s business environment is dynamic and constantly changing: customer and stakeholders’ needs; economic and social trends; technology; legislation to name but a few. As the organisation responds to these external forces, the need for change in approach sweeps across and down the entire organisation.

Success requires a game plan

Therefore, regardless of the level at which we manage, success requires a game plan: a strategy which increases our readiness for tomorrow and improves the clarity of decision making regarding priorities and budget spend today.

Developing our strategy requires occasionally stepping back from the day to day to evaluate and re-evaluate who our customers and stakeholders are, what their requirements might be and of course, what direction we will travel in to satisfy those needs within an ever-changing landscape.

So, where will you go tomorrow?


Related Service: Hoshin Kanri

About Warren

Warren Knight Head of Strategy PracticeWarren Knight is a Director Consultant and Head of Strategy at PMI. He is a highly experienced change and performance improvement consultant and has supported many global enterprises throughout his career. Warren specialises in helping clients develop, deploy and deliver truly effective strategies helping clients not only to develop their goals but to translate them into action and most importantly, results.

If you have any questions for Warren, please do get in touch.

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