Strategy execution: Key to success
Strategies draw a reasonably close parallel to the Physics or Chemistry laws, & Strategy execution resembles those experiments we all remember. The business world is like a lab; experiments are constantly being made to seek the truth because there are no readymade answers.
What we forget at times is that there are more instances than one would think, that demand extreme delicacy. An example that you would no doubt remember from the school days:
HCl + NaOH = NaCl + H20 ----- (i)
What a simple and basic formula! Just move around radicals from here & there and lo! You have an equation. But is it that simple when it comes to its execution in real life? Now try and remember your chemistry lab. You required a burette; a pipette; given concentration of Acid and Alkali; phenolpthalein (a "third party" which had the unique property of showing its visual presence in a neutral to slightly basic medium)....
Remember the delicacy with which you measured an exact quantity of the alkali in the pipette, how carefully the acid was released drop by drop.....
When you remember all that, you begin to realize that merely having a Strategy (read equation) does not warrant success. The above simple equation for instance does NOT mean that if I empty a drum of concentrated Hydrochloric acid, and a drum of equally acrid Sodium hydroxide in a bigger drum; I would get a drum of common salt dissolved in a drum of water!
Should I dare to jump in this mixture assuming it is no different from taking a dip in my neighborhood beach? If the basic tenets of delicacy are not followed (ridiculing them as unnecessary riders) then I daresay I would emerge badly scalded & scarred, having entered under the mistaken belief of the above chemistry equation being universally applicable.
Some things seem so absurdly simple - that they are almost rhetorical. Yet it surprises me that the moment "business" people think for the "business"; simple things are conveniently forgotten. Things like the delicacy to be maintained in the chemistry lab; things like paying attention to the Execution of a howsoever well thought out Strategy...
"Time is of the essence", and rest all can go to hell; seems to be the typical business pundit's mantra. Apparently whosoever wants to put prudence on the fore, is either trodden over, or shown the door. Some fancy equation like ---- (i) above is picked up from somewhere and without bothering too much about applicability (oh those consultants... don't know why they charge so much..!) headlong they go in, trying to make common salt out of the experiment!! Will they bother with the value equation on both sides? I bet they wouldn't.
For example, take this equation;
Fewer People + Technology = More People ----- (ii)
People simply don't perceive it in its value terms. They believe that more people mean simply paying few extra salaries, whereas Technology.. .. it's a HUGE investment, man! What they fail to perceive is that Technology does not come tapping at your door every week demanding a paycheck. A word here especially on the typical Indian corporates talking about Indian labor being cheaper, and completely denouncing equation ---- (ii). Well they would be as wrong as they would be if they believed equation --- (i) gave them a fantastic way to make common salt..
So please don't hesitate to ask questions. You are not being an obstacle in the strategy execution by being inquisitive. The more questions asked and answered, the better for any strategy. Understand that the strategies demand appropriate execution, and for that you need to appreciate and know
- the environment;
- the value objectives (is it prudent to make common salt the harder way as in --- (i)?);
- that any amount of discovery work that you do or get done through consultants, is most welcome;
- that in fact the discovery process is absolutely required to establish the facts in any equation...
The lifeblood of any business is being innovative. Granted. Let there be innovation; but not at the expense of common sense. Let not the intricacies, and the mandatory processes be overridden citing paucity of time; under the mistaken belief that if enough number of people think that the details aren't important then so will it be.
"So let there be light"! Let the strategies be made boldly, but being properly informed. The clearer the understanding is; the closer the strategies will be to the goal; and then the right detailed execution will produce success.
That Success = Nothing succeeds like which!!!