Crimes Against Strategy

Prosecutor: “Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Today we’ll prove that the defendant did knowingly and willfully kill his business strategy in what can only be described as a complete and utter disregard for human intelligence. On the morning of June 7th, 2010, where exactly was your business sense?”

Defendant: “Hmmm…we had just finished another meeting where I skillfully avoided any accountability for two floundering initiatives. Not wanting to jeopardize my ascension up the corporate ladder, I then passed another decision I should have made onto the group in the guise of ensuring we had “consensus” on the issue. To further confuse and delay the process, I concocted several sub-committees to further explore the issues. Naturally, we left the meeting with absolutely no progress at all on any of the important agenda items.”

Prosecutor: “So you admit that you have in fact killed the business strategy?”

Defendant: “On the contrary. I have built a strategy of innovation. In the meeting in question on June 7th, I spent 45 minutes running a lively discussion of what type of logo coffee mug we should be giving away at the financially draining trade-shows we mindlessly agree to attend each year. I suggested giving away a logo coffee mug withouta handle, to show the market exactly how innovative we are.”

Prosecutor: “You are also being charged with the crime of trying to be all things to all people. Why exactly hasn’t your business made the trade-offs necessary to focus your resources on specific customer groups to grow revenue?”

Defendant: “You obviously haven’t spent much time in the real world of business. In order to make the types of strategic trade-offs you’re referring to, we’d have to take time out from our adrenaline-jazzed fire fighting, running around with our heads cut off, tactical goose-chases. Next we’d have to choose the right questions, frameworks, and models to strategically think through the four key areas of market, customers, competitors and company. Then we’d have to take those insights and channel them into an action plan that meets our goals and objectives. Finally, we’d have to communicate this strategy to the people who actually implement it on a daily basis. Now do you see how ridiculous the idea of developing and executing strategy really is in a typical company?”

Prosecutor: “One final question: your company manages to survive each year but profits continue to dwindle at an alarming rate. How do you account for this?”

Defendant: “That’s simple. Our corporate attorneys have said that we need to be environmentally conscious or friendly or eco-something. I then read an article my daughter, a freshman at Cal-Berkeley, sent me from The Economist that said being green could actually help companies make money. So by creating a strategy-free business environment we’re reducing our level of profit emissions and saving the planet.”

Prosecutor: “I rest my case.”

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