Those of you who know me well will be familiar with my favourite quotation about strategic planning. It come from Sun Tzu – the great Chinese General who’s book the Art of War has influenced so many people. He said “strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory; tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat!
This was clearly not a quotation that our former Prime Minister, David Cameron, was familiar with. He sailed blindly into the EU Referendum with absolutely no strategy in the event of a vote to leave. Unbelievable!
Which of us in business, faced with an uncertainty that has one of only two possibilities as the outcome, would ignore strategic planning for each? But therein lies the biggest difference between politics and business. Politics has a short term focus. It is about targeting the next set of elections, where the only prize, is getting into government.
Business has to look longer term. It needs to take account of the macro and micro environments in which it operates. Business needs to think strategically. And one criticism levelled at Messrs. Cameron and Osborne by so many commentators was that they were just tacticians.
Of course strategic planning is relative for every different business. My pal Matt who owns a very successful window cleaning business, does an appropriate review of his business strategy twice a year (for summer and winter). It is a project we can finish easily in one day. For the more complex businesses that I work with, strategic planning, is a much bigger exercise and it requires far more time. Then it is a case of touching the strategy quarterly to benchmark it against what’s been happening and to adjust accordingly. We review the tactical or implementation plans on a monthly basis.
So Mr Cameron’s inertia caused an understandable degree of uncertainty for business. Let us not make the same mistake. Now is the time to review (or create) our strategic planning.
Please email or phone if you would like to discuss it with us.