The strategic strategy and strategizing strategically

Impending tides

We all want to progress. Entrepreneurs seek funding, established companies strive to expand, and employees desire promotions and raises. Growth is in our code.

Globalization and constant technological advancements bring a plethora of tools that let everyone — literally everyone — access and create a sea of opportunities. And with that sea, the impending tides of competition surge.

The speed of progress generates armies of competent peers that seem to force us to become sharper, smarter, more skillful and more ingenious. The rate of change can be overwhelming.

To achieve their dreams and goals, some people feel as though they need to look and play the part in order to be competitive. That is perilous.

The trap

Professional strategists should never put form over substance. But with all these constant changes happening so fast, it is much harder now to keep abreast and keep up; hence, many resort to all sorts of intricate wording and eye-catching charts to compensate for the lack of knowledge and understanding. They put form over substance because they want to look the part.

Look out! These complex strategies, with Venn diagrams galore, tongue twisting jargon, and bells and whistles, are not just fluff; they are a trap.

Think of this as a foggy cloud of fluff, and the person is in the midst of it, surrounded, blinded, and trapped.

Many professionals, and sometimes even entire companies, are so blinded by it that they actually think their «strategic strategies» add real value. And some even boast about it.

This is very dangerous. Not only because of the time and other resources wasted, but because the more someone is intoxicated with forms, instead of meaning and substance, the further that person is from conceiving real and useful strategies.

«Strategic strategies» and all those forms of «strategizing strategically» can easily kill any entrepreneurial endeavor and eventually even sink big companies as well. The critical danger is that this trap keeps company stakeholders from proper research and analysis.

Conversely, if you have a solid and well-founded strategy and it turns out to be flawed, you learn from it. You can extract knowledge from that iteration and fine tune the next move until you hit the target. You can optimize. You can build.

But there are almost no chances for learning and improving if you think you know what you don’t know, and you think you have what you don’t have.

Strategy is a function of analysis. And analysis is the cornerstone of research.

The lifesaver

So, where do we draw serious strategies from amidst this avalanche of changes?

Strategy still derives from research. All these technologies and platforms bring us increasingly more data to gather, organize, analyze, and interpret.

There is no question, we all have to up our game and adapt to the latest ways. But what makes the real difference is not the acquisition of new skills; it’s clarity and focus.

Focus on clarity and clarify your focus. Clarity and focus make you different from the rest.

Too much information confuses. This is why today, more than ever, clarity and focus are key in order to formulate strategies that make sense, come from a place of objectivity, and are actually useful.

Companies need to revisit their operations, communications, business models, processes, plans, etc. Everything needs to be very well aligned and focused. And everyone (employees, stakeholders, and customers) need to be clear on what the company is about, what they offer, how they do that, and why all that is relevant in people’s lives.

Disregard clarity and focus (and the substance derived from them) and you will witness more «strategic strategies», and will have to deal with more team members that are «strategizing strategically».

If you believe substance is more important than form, and strategies should come from data and analysis, click here. We will listen to you and help you with the right digital strategy needed to achieve your business goals.

If you liked this article, please click on the recommendation heart, and share it with others who can benefit as well.

Jacobo Gheller on Twitter and Instagram