strategy is an "engine of flux"
I’ve recently been reading “Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly. Whilst the book is about the impact twelve big technology trends could have upon our future, an early extract particularly resonated with me:
Every kind of thing is becoming something else, while it churns from “might” to “is”. All is flux. Nothing is finished. Nothing is done. This never-ending change is the pivotal axis of the modern world.
Constant flux means more than simply “things will be different”. It means processes - the engines of flux - are now more important than products...
…get the ongoing process right and it will keep generating ongoing benefits.
In our new era, processes trump products.
As well as capturing neatly how we all must adapt to the ever changing technology that surrounds us, it also reflects the challenge every organisation grapples with when setting strategy.
Every organisation is always in beta, always becoming what it could be next. The speed of contextual change and customer need means that the “next” could change rapidly, necessitating a different approach to both leadership and strategy.
The value of strategy work is not the end product - the deck, the business plan, the budget spreadsheet - but in the thinking that allows it to be created. The questions that are asked, and answered. The challenges taken on. The decisions made. The priorities set. The goals established. The resources allocated. The teams formed. The tasks set.
This activity is not a one-off exercise, a process to follow once a year. Rather it should be an embedded way of behaving, core to how organisations operate.
The ability to develop and implement strategy - and answer those tough questions - is a key “engine of flux” for every organisation.
Of all the processes running a business involves, the ability to set goals, identify and diagnose obstacles to achieving them, design effective responses and then deliver i.e strategy, is possibly the most important.
As business life cycles shorten it will be organisations that can constantly adapt and evolve that survive. Call it being agile, call it being lean, call it an engine of flux, call it a Day One philosophy like Amazon, call it whatever you want, but you do need to be doing it.