TQM 2.0: Quality of Strategy

In an earlier blog I talked about it being time to refocus on Quality for the 21st Century and thanks to reader feedback have coined the term, TQM 2.0.  There are three elements of this new focus on quality (the Three “Must”-keteers of Quality)

Let’s give some thought to Quality of Strategy.

First of all, there is no perfect strategy.  The search for the perfect strategy, and the price tag that goes with it, is a waste of time.  Strategies are static but markets are dynamic and constantly changing so to search for a perfect strategy is not possible.  The best might be a strategy that is flexible and responsive to external and internal shifts.

However, even though there is no perfect strategy, strategies can be perfected and the way to accomplish that is through an ongoing process of strategy evaluation with frequent reviews using honest assessments of the competitive landscape and honest assessments of your own company competitive capabilities.  Think of this as a continuous scan of the external and internal environment. An early warning system.

But it seems that honest assessments are easier said than done, especially in companies with a “culture of non-honesty”.  What I mean by this is a culture that does not value or display open, honest communications and transparency, but instead seeks to “present data in the best light” in order to look good with upper management.  Does it happen?  All the time.  Why? If organizations are shadows of their leaders then we know where to look for the roots of a “non-honest culture”.  Gamesmanship among the senior team and lack of alignment at the top are the usual culprits.

Second, quality of strategy is a function of both content and “buy-in”.  Without buy-in (that is belief and commitment in the strategy) even the best of documents will have a difficult time being implemented.  How to achieve buy-in?  One way is to build the strategy yourself as opposed to outsourcing strategy development to an outside consulting firm.  After all, who knows more about your market, your customers, your internal capabilities and your products than you?

Why not find a robust strategy development process and make it the job of your senior executives (supported by ideas and insights from the entire company) to develop the business strategy?  The result would be a more realistic strategy with more buy-in and commitment than if you “bought” your strategy.

In many cases the quality of strategy lies in the commitment of your people and in organizational capabilities as much as in killer products or new market insights.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

E | john@johnrchildress.com      T | +44 207 584 3774      M | +44 7833 493 999

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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