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The road to strategy is paved with good intention. It is remarkable how many companies don't have a structured process. Many companies in fact live from hand to mouth, or sale to sale. Few develop a plan from year to year, much less a longer-term approach that sets goals, priorities and a tool to evaluate the hundreds of daily decisions throughout the year that add up to where the company goes and how it does.
The article on strategy on p. 6 is refreshing. It's one thing to be cynical about the strategy process and throw up your hands. It's another to recognize the realities of day-to-day demands and craft a realistic strategy process that works for the unique personalities and culture of your company.
It is fairly transparent to visit a company where there is a disconnect between the mission statement and where the hearts and minds of the employees are. As the article states, a strategy that ignores obvious operational issues, organizational dysfunctions or other negative elements will quickly become a joke throughout the organization. Even if top managers pay lip service, it will have no buy-in and no chance of success.
Everyone can name a customer service incident that made such a negative impression that it is remembered ten years later. Ultimately, these extremely costly episodes are really an outcome of the lack of a real-world and honest strategy process. The employees are completely disconnected from how their daily actions advance the real mission of their employer. I'd argue that distributors have a greater need for clear strategy than most companies. Customers evaluate the tangible and intangible value delivered at every contact point against the other options they have. That's too important to leave to chance.