Suppliers in particular are prone to this problem. Retail and foodservice customers–including private equity–have a clearer path for their future.
It’s time for supplier CEOs to get real about some of the strategy issues impeding growth:
- Most strategies are pitches. Asked to pressure test, I usually find only a vague link at best between activity, value creation, superior performance and the industry environment.
- Strategies are limited to the capability-bandwidth of the executive team, which is often out of sync with market realities.
- The surge of effort that jump-starts implementation sputters against time, cost and other hurdles the organization didn’t anticipate.
- Resources aren’t aligned with the strategy–making it impossible to implement. Ideas capable of moving the needle over the long term lack seed capital separate from the annual operating budget.
- Sequence of execution is unclear, targets are homogenized, offerings are packaged, returns on specific resource allocation aren’t measured and reported.
- The “why” behind new industry behaviors is missing or not predictive to prepare the organization for what’s around the corner.
- The company’s self-described market position is inaccurate, inflated, aspirational (“Leaders in the category”, “Cutting-edge innovation”, “Highest quality”). Customers don’t share these perspectives, so strategy lacks a credible starting point before the ink is dry.
- Strategies don’t address problems head on–only symptoms and outcomes of more profound organizational issues.
If two or more of points apply to your company, it’s time to revise your growth approach with clear-eyed scrutiny and tough questions to enable better results.