The danger of poor strategic thinking
..and the miracle of good strategic thinking.
Good strategy has the power to create immense value. Just think of where Apple would be today without the strategic brilliance of Jobs; what Singapore could have become without Lee Kuan Yew's strategy to focus on rapid economic growth by creating conditions ideal for entrepreneurship.
When organisations prioritise impactful strategic thinking into their DNA - they equip themselves to be more competitive, generate better margins and maximise the potential opportunities that exist.
On the flip side - poor strategy work creates confusion, wastes time and money and squanders the power that companies have to create widespread prosperity and wellbeing for a society.
If governments are serious about improving the lives of citizens through the development of better economic prospects for the businesses that contribute to the fiscal load - wouldn't it then make sense to ensure that those businesses are at least equipped to design better strategies?
Poor, or non-existent strategic thinking, is everywhere when you take a critical look at the South African business landscape. Far too many companies are run at a fraction of their intrinsic potential, resulting in the omission of vast swathes of wealth.
Many play the blame game (saying the ANC, corruption, loadshedding etc etc is to blame), others are just too set in their old ways of doing things to wilfully explore anything new.
Generally there is a pervasive lack of creativity, imagination and innovation when it comes to growing business value by South African business leaders. That's why we all get so bloody excited when a big organisation like Shoprite Checkers bucks the trend and creates something truly remarkable like Checkers Sixty60.
Sadly though - Checkers Sixty60 is the exception to the rule.
Perhaps it's an underlying fear of the future which is holding many back - a lack of certainty as to where things are heading. Policy certainty and a clear believable 'Presidential plan' would create more positive conditions under which to be more optimistic. Then again, if we are all just waiting for things to be just right, we might be waiting around for a very long time.
If it's robust economic growth you are after, Mr President - consider getting business leaders better at crafting good strategy; close that skills gap.
Investing in infrastructure is needed - yes. Making sure that you attract foreign capital - for sure; but what good are all of these things if strategic innovation from business is lacking?
What this will take is better thinking skills, more creativity and imagination, increased levels of confidence. These are all things that can be nurtured and cultivated with the awareness of their necessity.
The danger of poor strategy is stagnation and more pessimism. Create competent optimists out of those that have the ability to transform society through good strategy, and you transform society.