Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Way of Strategy (#24): Knowing the Grand Settings (2)

"Know the challenge, know yourself; your success will never be threatened. Know your settings, know the external changes, your success will always be absolute." - Art of War

Whenever one enters into a new competitive setting, knowing the rules and the dimensions of the terrain are the first few steps. Understand the strategic leverage of your team. Determining their strengths and weaknesses. Then matching the attributes to the terrain. Those are the first few steps of a good Compass strategy. ...

We recently were talking to an associate who used some parts of our process in his projects. He explained the following business situation.

"We have a mechanical engineer consultant who just has designed the physical box that our module unit will go into. It will be attached to the dashboard that I'm responsible for. He doesn't have an actual dashboard, but he has all the mechanical drawings from the daskboard designer. ... The management presumed that the mechanical engineer did not need any more information. He sent me a prototype. We tried to install it and the device did not meet our requirements. ... As you constantly mentioned to us, that people usually performs well, are given a tangible representation of what is required of them. ... ( Sidebar: Defining the end in mind is the most difficult challenge in defining the strategy. Proper strategic assessment and planning areis the other most difficult things to do.) ... *I* think what we should have done was to send him an actual dashboard and let him see for himself (not photos) on how it actually works. ... Management is beginning to come around to see the wisdom of assessing the compass of their situation before doing anything else. ..."

Strategic Assessment is about understanding the compass of one's grand settings. It is not about assumption or guessing. Depending on the quality of the data and the experience of the Compass strategist, he/she can predict the outcome.

Our preferred approach is to operate with tangible data from every strategic stakeholders. ...

Assumptions usually have a tendency of wasting time and money. One cannot tell someone to design a three-dimensional object with two dimensional data.

One cannot advise inexperienced outcome-driven management (who has no grand picture or any strategic experience on proper logistics and protocol), on the proper strategic management approach until they understand that quality takes time. Poor quality specifics (requirements to process) usually create extended time line and higher operating costs.

"There is no time to do it right. There is always time to fix it. ..."

When project managers or strategists do not properly build a grand picture that focuses on the agreed "end in mind.", time, effort and money are wasted. It is a lesson that most inexperienced outcome-driven management will never understand.

Conclusively, strategic experience results.

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