Cinderella Strategy

As we approach the festive season and a trip to the panto finds its way into many peoples’ social schedules, I thought I would take a panto-inspired view of strategy.  OK, I may need to get out more but it worked for me 🙂

I’ve been around the block, as they say, and it still amazes me how, even the most senior business people, don’t ‘get’ strategy or understand its importance.  If you mention innovation or marketing or leadership then everyone says ‘we need some of that’.  When it comes to strategy it’s…. ‘we haven’t got time’ – ‘things are moving too fast’ – ‘yeah, well that’s all just blue sky and ivory towers‘.

These misconceptions and flashes of narrow-mindedness made me think that strategy is often treated as a ‘poor relation’; a business Cinderella if you like.  Whereas, marketing, innovation and leadership always seem to get invited to the ball.

Now I know that, in business, nothing is as quite as black and white as I’m portraying but hopefully you get my drift.

The irony is that without a strategic approach to marketing, leadership and innovation their value and impact are reduced.  There won’t be synergy between all the different elements and, potentially, actions in one area may conflict with or impair results in another.

By using strategy as our ally, we can take and champion a more holistic approach to business and learning and development, enabling better integration.  Secondly, being more strategic helps us inform our shorter term decisions which in turn helps us progress rather than adding to the confusion.

But hold on a minute.  It’s all well and good me standing on my soapbox wagging my finger.  What about some practical steps we can take to elevate the status of strategy.  Ways to make sure it goes to the ball.

The Vibe:  Remember when it comes to strategy it is a dynamic active process.  The idea that strategy is static while a dynamic world changes around it is bizarre.  Keep reviewing and evolving decisions based on new insights, opportunities or lessons learnt.

The Attitude:  Add plenty of heart and soul because without it even a dynamic strategy process will just be nuts and bolts.  Be creative and remember that people are at the heart of everything we do.

The Place-To-Be:  Like any social butterfly, if there is more than one party to go to, how do you decide?!  The same applies to investing in strategy.  Work out the benefits of working more strategically for your organisation or situation.  Make it accessible and engaging to others so they want to be part of the process too.

The Guest List:  Like any good party, it’s all about the people and your strategy team is no different.  Make sure you have a mix of experience, skills, functions and personalities.  Remember, it’s not always about seniority and status.  There may well be plenty of untapped talent just waiting to be asked.

Strategy isn’t boring or dull.  It really can be the belle of the ball!

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