No strategy. No chance.
Let me tell you a tale of a magical company that created buckets of gold out of thin air and then needlessly lost it all.
Research In Motion (RIM), a small Canadian company, started with a very tight strategy: attach a QWERTY keyboard to a mobile device that sends messages instantly and securely, and sell it to businesses and governments around the world. They called this device the BlackBerry. Here are the results of their solid, well-executed strategy:
Our heroes (RIM was led by two co-founders/co-CEOs) then lost their way. They were unprepared for the iPhone which was released Jun 29, 2007. Surprised, they abandoned their strategy and responded tactically to Apple’s apparent threat. They rushed to create consumer-oriented devices with no physical keyboard and no music/app ecosystem. Thus poorly armed, they marched out to meet the iPhone on Apple’s playing field. The result was foreseeable and inevitable:
There was still hope (and time) when a new CEO (Thorsten Heins) was hired at the start of 2012; however, he immediately signalled his non-strategic approach and six months later the bells could be heard tolling by anyone who cared to listen.
The moral of this tale?
Make sure you’ve got a strategy that tells your team why you’re unique, how you’re going to make money, and how you’re going to defend yourself from competition. You’ve still got to execute well but at least you’ve armed yourself and your team.
No strategy? Don’t. Leave. Home.