Monday, October 13, 2008

Strategy and Tactics


"When in doubt, challenge the strategy, not the tactics". Seth Godin

"When a manager says to me that the strategy is fine, they just need better execution - I take a good look at the strategy."*

I list both of the above quotations to tackle a difficult issue: how do you as a business owner evalute the cause of a problem.

For example, if your products are always released late, is that because of

  1. Having the wrong people (knuckleheads can't get things done on time)
  2. Unrealistic deadlines

Once you are no longer involved in every detail of the business, it is essential that you can evaluate success (and failure). It is easier to blame the employees (tactics) than it is to blame your strategy, but consider this: if it is the wrong people, then changing them should result in success. If you fire them, and bring in others, how will you know if they will do it correct? How then was it that you have the wrong people in the first place? You hired them!  Maybe they are who you can afford. But if that is true - why expect them to achieve the goal?

As a manager - and as a business owner - it is your responsibility to remove obstacles to success, not create them. If you constantly find yourself berating your employees for failing to succeed at whatever strategy you've set, take a moment to be sure the failure is not you.

* I have lost the reference for this quotation - if you know, send me a comment.

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