Strategy Means Nothing without Operations


” A vision without action is just a dream; an action without a vision just passes time; a vision with an action changes the world.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Substitute the word “vision” to “strategy” and “action” to “operations” and that’s your business quote of the day.

I like to use a bicycle analogy to talk about what strategy and operations are, and how they relate to each other. When you are riding a bike, you are performing two main tasks. Steering and pedaling. Obviously steering is strategy and pedaling is operations. In order to get to your destination quickly, you need both components performing. It is much easier to steer a company that is already pedaling well. When you try to shift the strategy of a wobbly bike, you risk falling flat on your face. Strategy means nothing without the operations to back it up.

So, what does it mean for a strategy to be backed up by operations? It means your resources are shifted towards the strategy. At the most granular level, it means your sales person is calling prospective client A rather than client B. It means your account manager is creating an additional slide and product manager is adding a few lines to the requirements document. Management is shifting some members from one team to another. In short, strategy is only effective when action takes place.

In a corporation, the way to ensure these actions happen is by reflecting the strategy into the budget. When you look at a company’s budget there should be a storyline. The numbers next to the line items needs to illustrate how the strategy is to be executed. If you can’t read your strategy in the budget, it’s not going to happen.


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