I did some strategy work with a client this week where they were drilling down below the level of core strategic principles and actually figuring out what they were going to do differently to move in their desired direction. I fully admit, I love the big picture stuff better than the details, but it was encouraging to see this group quickly generate tangible changes to their existing line up of products and services in order to address the strategic principles they had already agreed upon.

My client said it reminded him of something that he thought Peter Drucker had said once:

Strategy means change.

There is no point in doing strategy if you are going to continue doing everything exactly as you’re doing it now. As you make strategic choices, by definition there will be some change. True, I suppose you could decide that everything you’re doing now is perfect (but that seems unlikely). So when you do your strategy work, get ready for change.

And remember that when it comes to implementation, a lot of people are very specifically focused on doing what you’re already doing. We write it into the job descriptions, in fact. We’re paying them to NOT change. So if you just toss your new ideas over to those people, you’ll often get a “new” program that looks surprisingly like the old one. Keep a fresh mix of people working on the new program to allow the strategic choices you’ve made to be realized.

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Jamie Notter