An important issue in order to develop a strategy or a strategic objective is raising the right question(s).
To proof this I would like to use an example: You are in Berlin, Germany (your current position) with your car (company) and want to go to a new place (your desired corporate future). There are a lot of interesting cities in Europe.
You choose Vienna. According to your (strategic) plan you decide to travel by car (your strategic way to achieve your objective) since it gives you the best flexibility in terms of time management and luggage. You decide to travel on county road in order to avoid traffic jams on the highway, using GPS based travel guide (tactics). You are very successful and achieve Vienna within your expected time frame and with all your luggage.
In Vienna you discover that you prefer French cuisine and that you are in the wrong city. But your tactics were great…..
This problem is often illustrated with this statement: Doing the things right vs. doing the right things.
That sounds easy…but in practice it is very hard to find the right question(s) and to do the right things.
A couple of days ago I discovered that one of my and my wife’s favourite TV shows (STARGATE SG1) is going to end. The reason might be that the number of viewers has declined from 2,55 million to 1,95 million. That makes a decline of 23 %, a figure that would make every TV station think twice. Hence NBC (Sci Fi channel) decided to end this TV show after season 10.
After this announcement a wave of fans started measures to convince NBC, Sci Fi and MGM management team to keep the STARGATE SG 1 show running. These measures include websites, e-mail campaigns and an internet based viewer petition panel. In order to call for support some fans created excellent video clips.
All measures have two objectives: a) to motivate supporters and to canalize viewer support in order (b) to convince the TV station and MGM to continue the SG 1 show.
This might be a good idea, but unfortunately is does not raise the right questions. In the core of this issue (of cancelling the show) we can find management disbeliefs concerning profits. After 200 shows in 10 seasons (more than Star Trek or the X-files) you might get the impression that the product life cycle of this show has come to an end. To cancel the show is one option. The campaign against this is an option, too.
For those who want to keep SG 1 alive and running I would recommend to rethink their focus and their questions. Ideas might be a product innovation. What do I mean? Well, the suggested I-Tunes shows and DVD productions are options….but actually not appropriate for this content. I see two reasons: (a) STARGATE started in the theatres in 1994, hence it should “end” in the theatres. (b) There are 9 (!) STAR TREK movies, why is there no STARGATE movie after this amazing TV show?
– Do not only protest against the cancellation of the TV show, since it has been proofed, that the number of viewers is declining…
– Motivate and organize existing and potential viewer opinions all over the world (WE WANT TO SEE STARGATE SG1 IN THE THEATRE!)….You have to proof that there is economic fundament to make a movie for the theatre.
STARGATE SG1 has actually all what it takes: a unique selling position, a brand, it has got its own positioning. CREATING A SG1 MOVIE – is product INNOVATION as well!
….there is just one item left: the demand for it….Hence: ORGANIZE THE DEMAND FOR AN SG1 MOVIE!
The strategic “right” question would be: Are you prepared to spend 9 bucks at the theatres’ office to see a STARGATE SG 1 movie?
(If we create the demand than all other “minor” problems can be fixed (e.g. a great script and some “little” funding”)