Strategy has become more about formulation than implementation, and more about getting the analysis right at the outset than living with a strategy over time. With that being said, I believe, as a consequence, it has less to do with leadership now than ever before.
Leading strategy requires confronting four questions: What does my organization bring to the world? Does that difference matter? Is something about it scarce and difficult to imitate? Are we doing today what we need to do in order to matter tomorrow? Being a strategist means living these questions every single day.
For a leader, becoming a strategist starts with getting clear on why, whether, and to whom your company matters. While that may sound obvious, it's something that has been proven to regularly frustrate the veteran leaders. When asked the question of clarity within the individual’s company their prolonged pause gave them away."
To illustrate the importance of clear purpose, The Swedish home goods retailer IKEA, was founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad-when he was 17 years old. From its early days, the book explains, IKEA set out to create "a better everyday life for the many." The retailer did this by addressing an unmet market need, offering customers an extensive range of practical, well-designed furnishings at low prices. This driving purpose steered IKEA to succeed not just on low prices but also with a singular customer experience that no other retailer has yet managed to duplicate. IKEA made very clear choices about who they will be and to whom they will matter, and why.
Strategists also must lead the charge in creating organizations who can deliver on their intentions. That means building business models with mutually reinforcing parts. Rich in organizational detail, and anchored on purpose. These are crucial links between lofty ideas and actions.
Zachary T. Brown