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Seek and Destroy

Optimize Blog - February 8, 2016 - 0 comments

When working with clients on developing their strategy, too often we see them tempted to adopt a “me too” strategy – simply copying what the competition are doing. However this will not deliver any sort of competitive advantage other than for the competition who will probably be enjoying some benefits of their ‘first mover’ status. Anyway, by the time we have caught up, the competition has likely moved on……
To be truly strategic, business leaders need to be prepared to tear up the rule book and become destructive in their thinking. Destructive is a word that has negative connotations and certain leaders are uncomfortable when confronted with the idea.
But to truly give a strategy the best chance leaders need to consider destroying the current business and way of working and destructive thinking creates the ability to challenge the status quo. Now, doing nothing or carrying on “doing what we do” might be the right thing, but unless we destroy our conventional thinking, we will never know or even consider the possibilities.
We like to help clients achieve a ‘destructive’ mindset and capability to complement the analytical, pragmatic and creative mindset. The destructive mindset allows the leader to challenge and to consider the destruction of the things that at one time were successful.
Typically, the mindset of people is to hang on to the things that were good and often for emotional or sentimental reasons. The key for the development of an effective strategy is to become emotionally detached from specific situations and actions. Emotion can actually be one of the primary reasons for slowdown in growth in companies. The truth is that strategic decision making needs to be balanced and based on a comprehensive situational understanding not an emotional view of the world.
So how do we go about being destructive?
First have strategic conversations as these are a very powerful way to describe destructive actions. These help in visualizing the outcome of certain actions. Strategy should be a regular item on any senior leadership agenda.
Second is the need to remove the fear. Many leaders are afraid to think radically or about revolution rather than evolution, preferring to stay in the known as opposed to the unknown.
Third, leaders should be encouraging their people to explore the what ifs – focusing primarily on destruction of the various aspects of the organization – the structure, the systems and processes, people and skills, leadership and culture.
Fourth is the ability to analyze the impact of different actions. It is critical to be able to join the dots and to consider all potential outcomes as after all, anyone can destroy with no thought of consequences, but that will always end in tears…..
Sometimes you need to seek out and destroy the current way of thinking before you can begin to explore new approaches. Effective strategy development cannot exist without it……

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