‘We don’t have a plan so nothing can go wrong!’

Steve MacAlpine —  February 12, 2013

 

social-insights-strategy- by- Spike-Milligan

Thus spake the wonderful Spike Milligan.

If you have ever been in a planning presentation with me it’s highly likely that you would have seen my Spike Milligan School of Strategy slide.

‘Why do so many companies fail to have a strategy?

Why do managers avoid making strategic choices?

Or, having made them in the past, why do managers so often let strategies decay and blur?

Many say that the world is moving too fast for companies to have a long term strategy and argue the case for constant adaptation and change.

True ‘constant change’ is a given that we have to deal with.

The potential danger though is that we might neglect to ensure that we remain in touch with our core strategies…the same strategies that got our companies and organisations to where they are today.

I’ve been a long term fan of Michael E. Porter, head of the ‘Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness’ at Harvard.

‘Commonly, the threats to strategy are seen to emanate from outside a company because of changes in technology or the behavior of competitors.

Although external changes can be the problem, the greater threat to strategy often comes from within.

A sound strategy is undermined by a misguided view of competition, by organizational failures, and, especially, by the desire to grow.’

Michael E. Porter’s ‘What is Strategy?‘ HBR’s 10 Must Reads – On Strategy

Yes it’s easy to get caught up in strategy development without doing stuff and I’m sure that we’ve all had experiences with ‘analysis paralysis.’

As Tom Peters says, ‘Action always takes precedence.’ and a great quote from Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, ‘We have a ‘strategic’ plan. It’s called doing things.’ 

That said, I’m constantly amazed to see companies push ahead with their communication projects without well defined and measurable goals that tie back to strategic objectives.

Expressed in it’s simplest form ‘strategic planning’ is designed to determine:
– where you are
– where you intend to be
– and how you are going to get there

There’s a well defined process around this of course and it’s interesting to look at the strategies that are being applied to the current dynamic environment.

When was the last time you reviewed your brand’s marketing and promotional activities to ensure that you are in touch and working towards those core strategies?

You can of course adopt the alternative approach

….the Spike Milligan school of marketing.

Steve MacAlpine

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Brand and digital strategist - founder of Social Insights.