I recently posted that the creation of strategy was better served by being flexible and agile than creating concrete plans. Here’s part 2:
6. Focus Action on the Short Term ((Millard, Rob, June 5, 2006. “Increasing Your Strategic Clock Speed.” Retrieved from http://www.robmillard.com on August 6, 2006.))
While strategic objectives may be aimed over a time frame of several years, and plans may even straddle a year or more, the firms with the highest execution clock speeds have an action orientation where the focus is primarily on what people should be doing NOW! In other words, action plans are focused on the next week or month; no more than the next quarter. The plans detail who (specifically) is responsible for each action, what resources are to be deployed, and how success or failure will be measured.
We go back to my and Rob’s assertion that the creation of strategy was better served by being flexible and agile than creating concrete plans. ((Millard, Rob, August 5, 2006. “Creating Prepared Minds.” Retrieved from http://www.robmillard.com on August 6, 2006.)) (Points originally derived from Beinhocker, Eric) ((Beinhocker, Eric, June 19, 2006. “Creating Strategy in an Unknowable Universe,” HBS Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from http://hbswk.hbs.edu on July 3, 2006.)) A strategy should never be short sited and short term. The tactical, actionable tasks that come out of it should be though.
Planning more than a few months in advance is almost futile. Changes in the business environment, priorities, emergencies and such will really dictate what tasks you take on. The best actionable task to advance the progress of the strategy today, may not be what you had anticipated last week. So agility becomes all important in the execution of the actual strategy.
The real problem though, is that agility is usually quite easy to attain… for a single individual. Chances are you either have a team or a whole organization to change the direction of. I refer back to the last post about involving the “masses” and making them contributors of the process rather than just consumers of your decisions. “Grassroots” strategy implementation has an uncanny ability to act with single minded drive.