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The worst strategy advice I know of…

I originally posted this on LinkedIn and it has received so much attention, I figured you might find it useful as well. 

Including the drawing and picture.

I try to add some humor to your day. 

My strategy grid...

Today I want to talk about some of the worst advice I know of when it comes to strategy:

‘Let the market decide…’

This is the absolute worst advice because it has 3 key underpinnings that will guarantee you failure:

– It assumes that everything is random. 
– It tells you that strategy is unimportant. 
– It says that the quality of your decisions can’t make a difference. 

All 3 of these underpinnings are silly, stupid even. 

Today’s drawing shows you the intersection of:

– Customer focus v. “Let the market decide”
– Focused #strategy v. tactically driven behavior 

What I’ve seen over the years:

– The businesses that win do two things better than everyone else…

Focus on the customer. Focus on clear decision-making. 

This has been historically less than 10% of the businesses I’ve encountered. 

– The larger percentage of businesses are “Losers”. 

What does this mean? 

It means they buy the narrative that we need to “let the market decide” and they just keep throwing tactics against the wall. 

This is around 80%+ of the businesses I encounter. 

Some die quickly—some limp along for a while. 

– A third group of businesses are tactically driven. 

They know the customers, but they haven’t made the strategic decisions to move into the “Winners” category. 

This category is usually and is a way station for folks. 

They don’t stay here long. 

They either double down on tactics and drift into the “Losers” or they step back and make the strategy decisions necessary to win. 

– The final group doesn’t exist. 

I’ve never really seen a business that has made a strategic set of decisions but says they are letting the market decide. 

They are lying if they said they did. 

Where do you think your business sits on this chart? 
What stands in your way of moving into the “winners” category? 
Have you noticed your business sliding into one of the categories that you don’t want to be in? 

Let me know in the comments.


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