Kodak is not a good example of bad strategy

The outcome of bad strategy is not necessarily bankruptcy.

Kodak is not a good example of bad strategy

In the search for classic examples of companies that failed to design and follow a good, well-considered strategy - a few obvious favourites are often hauled out and paraded for ridicule.

Kodak is one of them.

Yes, the once stellar global film-maker, who actually invented the digital camera years before digital photography disrupted the film industry, but chose rather to shelve the project, because they didn't want to harm their own ability to sell film is often view as the poster child of what not to do when it comes to strategy.

IBM is another; as is Blackberry, Nokia, SAA, Blockbuster - all carry tales of woe and are a reminder for many that arrogance and mismanagement are a no-no.

But this is a mistake.

It's a mistake because labelling these obvious colossal screwups as good examples of companies that followed bad strategy is totally misleading, and dangerously gives everyone a false sense of accomplishment for having just somehow managing to stick around without a painful public blowout; despite also having a strategy not worth the slide deck that everyone ignores.

The outcome of bad strategy is not necessarily bankruptcy.

Just because your business is not on the front cover of the Financial Mail with a headline written in red ink and bold type doesn't mean that you somehow did a decent strategy job.

The outcome of bad strategy is often far more subtle than this...

The outcome of bad strategy is inefficiency.

It's missed opportunity.

It's the failure to maximise potential.

It's a high customer churn rate, it's low margins, it's a customer acquisition bill that's constantly increasing.

Poor strategy results in the need for lots of meetings, challenges with managing people and general internal dis-ease.

It's the slow, pedestrian growth rate; a company's inability to creatively compete, innovate new value, attract great talent and leverage its historical brand equity.

When framed like that - I can think of countless companies that are clearly following bad strategies.

So rather don't look at 'the Kodak's of this world' as a benchmark of poor quality futures thinking; rather feel a sense of alarm whenever you encounter an absence of organisational flow (as I choose to call it).

When you have evidence of that - better strategy is needed.