Flexibility: The New Vision of Corporate Strategy

New Strategy

Corporate strategy needs a makeover.

In a world where new products can dominate the market’s zeitgeist one minute and sink the next – think Meerkat – the ability to quickly grasp the implications of new technology and how it will impact customer demand is essential. Strategic planners no longer have the luxury of conducting year-long studies and shaping plans that can be implemented over long periods of time. Instead, you must be agile – able to recognize how a pivot in demand can impact everything from product design to manufacturing and distribution.

Today, your corporate strategy department must always question your assumptions and the status quo. Even companies famous for “knowing their customers” stumble when they adopt a strategy that relies on inwardly focused thinking. Amazon, for example, couldn’t convince its fiercely loyal user base to adopt its much-hyped Amazon phone, highlighting a disconnect that was both expensive and embarrassing.

Although the best companies innovate at all levels, it’s the strategic planner’s job to identify new opportunities for growth. Today, that calls for a team that’s grounded in the organization’s core competencies but can also recognize how new technologies and consumer behaviors can grow the business. Amazon – which wins more often than it stumbles – made a connection between e-commerce and e-books that revolutionized the publishing industry. Uber married convenience and predictability to turn the livery business on its head.

Today’s strategic teams must be lean and flexible, ready to call on specialized expertise when it’s needed.

Today, you have to reimagine a market’s dynamics the way meteorologists analyze weather systems, forecasting ways your company can leverage its expertise into new products. To do that, your strategic team must be lean and flexible, ready to call on specialized expertise when it’s needed. Set structures and rigid org charts don’t work in today’s fluid business environment. Corporate strategy must be inclined toward action, able to recognize opportunities and ready to lead the company’s efforts toward implementation.

The new corporate strategy department includes an internal team of business experts, supplemented by specialists who are engaged when they’re needed. This allows the group to be both nimble and cost-effective. Independent consultants offer knowledge that supplements the company’s existing expertise in core business and operations. The result is a strategic planning process that’s grounded in the fundamentals of your business yet dynamic enough to anticipate the features customers will come to expect as the industry evolves. In other words, the combination of in-house expertise and strategic talent on-demand can push the company’s products and services ahead of the market.

Incorporating talent on-demand shifts strategic planning from an internal focus to one that’s driven by new perspectives.

Ironically, this more dynamic slant on corporate strategy is more cost-effective than the traditional approach. Where today, your strategic team must include a wide variety of skills, the use of talent on-demand incurs costs only when specific types of expertise are needed. At the same time, your company’s core team can consult with a wider variety of experts and consider a greater range of viewpoints. Incorporating talent on-demand shifts your strategic planning from an internal focus to one driven by new perspectives.

The traditionally organized corporate strategy department can’t be expected to keep up with business, market and economic changes as it did in years past. The bottom line is your strategic team has to lead the organization in how it approaches business itself – by being nimble, flexible, fast-moving, and always looking for new viewpoints.

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