– Thoughts on Strategy and Management

A comfortable strategy is not a good strategy

Here are some brief quotes about strategy I came across yesterday. There is more truth about the nature of strategy in these few lines, than in some lengthy articles.

Read, enjoy, and take some wisdom with you:

“…if you are entirely comfortable with your strategy, there’s a strong chance it isn’t very good.”

“True strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices. The objective is not to eliminate risk but to increase the odds of success.”

Good strategy is “… the result of a simple and quite rough-and-ready process of thinking through what it would take to achieve what you want and then assessing whether it’s realistic to try.”

From: The Big Lie of Strategic Planning by Roger L. Martin, in the January–February 2014 Issue of Harvard Business Review.

I strongly recommend this article.

Roger L. Martin states that strategy should always be outside the comfort zone. He also lists 3 comfort traps and gives advice on how to escape these traps:

  • Comfort Trap 1: Strategic Planning
    many businesses have an elaborate strategic planning process with a strong focus on planning – “This exercise arguably makes for more thoughtful and thorough budgets. However, it must not be confused with strategy.”
  • Comfort Trap 2: Cost-Based Thinking
    “…the predictability of costs is fundamentally different from the predictability of revenue. Planning can’t and won’t make revenue magically appear, and the effort you spend creating revenue plans is a distraction from the strategist’s much harder job: finding ways to acquire and keep customers.”
  • Comfort Trap 3: Self-Referential Strategy Frameworks
    This is my favorite: “In identifying and articulating a strategy, most executives adopt one of a number of standard frameworks. Unfortunately, two of the most popular ones can lead the unwary user to design a strategy entirely around what the company can control.”

Books by Roger L. Martin:


Comments are closed.