Strategy is a choice. By definition, it means choosing one thing over another, not hedging your bets or sitting on the fence. The problem is, this deliberate process of making an intentional choice and accepting the inevitable trade-offs is often forgotten. Clarity of choice should be the quid pro quo for developing a strategy in the first place. When it is not, the strategic decision takes too long to make and, when it is finally made, it is second-guessed and has no institutional stickiness. The buried mole of cynicism eventually raises its head, and the organization loses focus by continuing to allow the mole to roam the halls at will, spouting its negative, fatalistic mantra to everyone and anyone who will listen.
Curious isn’t it, how so many tough minded, hard charging, chest thumping executives can have trouble saying “No”? This is especially perplexing since the ability to say “No” is among the most important requirements necessary to develop good strategy, and it is essential to ensuring the strategy is executed in the manner intended. Strategy, by its very nature, involves the imposition of clear criteria to guide actions, frame decisions and force the organization to maintain focus.