The strategy consulting business has been around for quite some time. Professional Business Strategy Consulting began in 1963, approximately 50 years ago. Prior to that date strategy was a term utilized exclusively by the military. The concept of strategy as applied to business is still a relatively new phenomenon. There are several players in the Strategy consulting field, yet the big ones that come to mind, McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Roland-Berger, etc. have been around for this amount of time or longer. Their focus, since the inception of “strategy” consulting has evolved, which is what makes them the big players in the field.
The key is are they doing the same things that they have always been doing, and obtaining the same results, or are they changing the game?
They are all in their own rights successful, profitable and extremely well known and endeared in most and many respects. The question still, is whether they are changing the game which means are they able to create real time strategic impact and immediately assist their clients in obtaining immediate results through an aggregate and collaboration of all resources – technology and people?
The reason we ask this question, is not to make light of who and what they are, yet quite the opposite, because as we have stated already, they are endeared and have established a long and lasting reputation rightfully. The way we do business, how we collect data and provide full business results, has changed.
Therefore, where the game changes, as it relates to strategy and technology, and turning the strategy business upside down, is now!
For clarity, worth repeating and redefining and of course explaining as it is still such an anomaly – What is strategy?
- Strategy is a word that is often misinterpreted and misused when it comes to business organizations. Today’s businesses develop strategies to stay ahead of their competitors by outperforming. It is nothing but effective planning and thinking. The planning process involved in a strategy includes values, business vision and culture. Often they run the risk of:
- Being mis-used or over used
- Not having a definition around how, what, where, why do you use them?
- Strategy comes in a variety of different forms, fashions and styles
- What is your flavor de jour
ii. Strategy Consulting Firm
iii. Combination of the two
iv. What was the purpose of utilizing one or both
- Was it successful?
- How did you measure the results?
- Let’s kick the strategy world upside down and side ways
- Let’s take a look at how we are utilizing them, and what purpose they are providing
A few years ago Erik Berggren, “Strategy Definition or Strategy Execution wrote an article… “. In this article a few excerpts below, it defines some very interesting concepts and commentaries on the Strategy Execution, and in our review the correlation between the old and the new and the need to turn the strategy world upside down:
“Which is more important? It’s a bit of a chicken vs. egg argument, but it’s fair to say that both are critical to driving positive financial results. Put it this way, if defining strategy explains 15% of a company’s financial performance then 85% must be explained by the execution of the strategy. You can’t separate the two, but given those percentages it’s also fair to say that execution is a much harder task. The more you study this the clearer the evidence becomes.
What do the greatest companies all have in common? You got it — the ability to focus their organization on strategy execution by ensuring that each individual is working (i.e., executing) on goals that matter to the organization. What type of goals “matter?” Put simply, only the ones that have a direct line back to the Strategy sitting in a binder on the CEO’s bookshelf.
The thing that struck me when doing some desktop research was that even though we know that 85% of performance is due to execution, the amount of content available is unbelievably skewed towards strategy — a simple web search on “Business Strategy” returns 3X more hits than “Business Execution” (80M hits vs. 24M hits). The term strategy execution returns only 3.5M hits.”
Execution is the name of the game to drive financial results. Research shows us that businesses have spent more than a trillion dollars on pure business and management consulting and various training over the past decade, yet the research is clear and shows, Harvard stat – 90% of strategies fail due to poor execution – that the majority of organizations are still failing to execute their effectively on their strategies.
There was a recent Harvard Business Review article on the rise of the Chief Strategy Officer. Some of the relevant points:
- The need for a senior executive to be accountable for the translation of strategy throughout the organization, allowing people to connect their work to a bigger purpose.
- To drive change initiatives required for the strategy and to establish the decision process and criteria.
- Interesting Factoid on Strategy and Execution:
- Strategy comes from a Latin word that means to lead
- Execution comes from a Latin word that means to follow through
- One could easily argue then that the “E” in CEO should stand for both execution and executive.
If you are leader, executive, board member and alike, and do not change the way you obtain results on strategy alignment and execution, in real time, then you continue to do the same old thing and garner the same results – at noisome. Execution must be based upon common strategies and the results must show in real time, be on going and involve and evolve to everyone in the business. Without this…you become a 90% statistic according to Harvard –strategies fail due to poor execution!
So where do you want to be…a failing statistic and doing the same old things the same old ways, or taking and kicking the strategy business upside down and side ways and being a different type of statistic – a 10% obtaining results to proper execution of strategies?
The decision is yours! What are you going to do?