Book Extract

Book Extract

Design a comprehensive strategy

2007013119-6487220Strategy requires considerable out-of-the-box thinking. It requires dismantling boxes, and removing, to a large extent, departmental boundaries and interpersonal barriers. Organisational boundaries (and also those within an organisation), have become porous and permeable, allowing an exchange of ideas and actions. Organisations now function through interlocking circles (task forces, etc), rather than through hierarchical organisation trees.

Strategy is designed by integrating inputs from a variety of sources, including the views of a large sample of employees from across the organisation. It is not only collation of data but alignment of vision, values, and goals.

It is a fusion of aspirations, ideas, and the human striving to realise them, with different scenarios and projections of quantified data.

Management decides to invest its resources in such collectively crafted strategy.

Successful leaders (like Azim Premji, Kumar Managalam Birla, Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Anji Reddy, and similar others) exhibit a grasp over a wide range of issues that occupy the global space at the macro level, and organisations at the micro level. They create space for their teams to craft comprehensive and competitive strategies.

While creating such a strategy, the teams take into account the following factors:

  • Vision, mission, and goals

  • Emerging global standards

  • Regional shifts, similar to those happening in Asia at present

  • International and domestic markets with shifting boundaries as a paradigm change

  • Homogenised and/or niche consumer cultures

  • Impact of IT, media, brands, patents, WTO, deregulation, privatisation, and environmental concerns

  • Corporate and SBU growth

  • SWOTs of finance, production, marketing, technological advances, people talent, and learnability

  • Competitors’ SWOTs of investments, products, services, and marketing

  • Opportunity analysis of contacts, alliances, and geopolitical movements

  • Internal tightening—cost saving, general economy drives, destruction and introduction of products, trimming organisational limbs

  • Benchmarking innovation in quality of products and services with focus on customers

These factors can be grouped and named differently in each organisation. The purpose is to prepare a comprehensive strategy for execution.

If one already has a strategy one needs to review it to face emerging realities, and tighten the processes where execution may have failed.

If all this still does not work one needs to get in fresh inputs from consultants.

Unless mental models of the leaders and senior managers are defined on what new values to introduce, plans for strategic innovation will not produce a sustainable advantage.

Safe quotes of precedent and linear extrapolation do not rescue leaders, uncommon wisdom does. While taking all these factors into account what one imagines one can contribute in one’s specialty becomes important. The whole is larger than the sum of its parts. The design skills come from one’s creative self.

The skill lies in conceiving and making new patterns in machines, workflow, logistics, distribution reach, supply chains, finish colour scheme, shape, etc. The new method, device, arrangement, product, or service must stand tests in efficiency, cost saving, user friendliness, flow, aesthetics, and all put together, value addition.

Excerpt from ‘Strategic Thinker’ by Shrinivas Pandit. Price: Rs 99. Reproduced with permission © 2007, Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited. E-mail: