Recently I published an article in Baseline Magazine entitled Strategy is Not Enough. The premise of the article is essentially that it is not enough to define a strategy – technical or business – without taking an honest assessment of the capabilities your organization possesses. Developing a perspective of what you are good at, and not so good at, and laying that against the capabilities that your new strategy require you to be good at can be quite enlightening.
In the day, everyone knew and understood Dell’s business strategy. There were business case studies developed around the make-to-order model, supply chain management, and logistical aspects of how Dell continually out-performed Gateway, IBM, Compaq, etc. It wasn’t that Compaq didn’t know what to do when they attempted to mimic Dell’s strategy. It was that they couldn’t do it because they didn’t have the capabilities.
As I saw this scenario played out over and over it led me to a very simple principle that I try and carry forward with each of my clients when we are undertaking a strategy development initiative. The way I measure the best strategy is not simply the most profitable one on paper, it is not the most cost-efficient one on paper. Nor is it the one that introduces the next great product on paper. In the end the best strategy is the one that you can execute.