Are you comfortable with your strategy?


According to Roger Martin there are (at least) three dangerous traps for a strategy maker. However, and this is what makes these traps especially dangerous, each of these are also essential for a business. So, the answer is NOT to avoid the these… but to put these in the right perspective.

First, what are the traps?

  1. Planning
  2. Cost management
  3. Focus on capabilities

The trap of planning, cost management and focus on capabilities is in their natural dominance over true strategy (rather than to serve it).

Let’s admit it, strategy is both important and – if done right – scary!

When thinking about the future executives have a nearly build-in response of making the challenge less challenging and turn it into something that can be planned, controlled and solved with existing capabilities. And that summarises the 3 above-mentioned traps (read the article for more info on the traps).

Instead, Martin advises executives to reconcile with feeling uncomfortable while facing the challenge of strategy making.

Perhaps paradoxically, strategy should be kept simple (but definitely not easy):

Write a one-page document addressing where you will play and how you will win.

(This is the type of question we (Maxilliant) would organise a company strategy workout for). The emphasis should not be merely on answers but more on the (business) logic, and about what must change. It is only when these fundamental questions are truly faced that planning, cost management and existing capabilities can serve a company (and not to keep it from true strategy).

Inspiring fellow, this professor Roger Martin.


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