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Strategic Conversations

Many people believe that success hinges on having the right strategy. Others swear it’s all in the execution. Still others would say it’s a bit more elemental: it’s all about having the right strategic conversations.

For all their professed commitment to strategy, senior managers spend remarkably little time reviewing it. Kaplan and Norton’s research suggests that 85% of executive leadership teams spend less than one hour per month discussing their unit’s strategy, with 50% spending no time at all.

When discussions are so focused on the immediate operational challenges that face us, the early indications of a strategic ‘monster coming over the hill’ can get missed until it is upon us, dwarfing current concerns.

What exactly does it mean to have the right strategic conversations?

– It’s the ability to focus management discussions on strategic priorities without getting mired in short-term operational concerns.

– It’s about being able to address concerns candidly rather than putting the best possible face on them (or worse, sweeping problems under the rug).

– It means being able to collaborate for the enterprise’s common good and long-term success, rather than competing for resources, unit against unit.

What’s the quality of strategic conversations in your business – at the board, the leadership team and within the organisation?

– Are they focused predominantly on the past and operational concerns or on surfacing and addressing strategic issues with significant implications for today and tomorrow?

When strategic conversations happen throughout the business, it has a transformational effect on culture and performance.

When the strategy is managed in this way, it has a much greater likelihood of being executed successfully, and the promised benefits realised.

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