Being Strategic In Business

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I am currently doing the module on Corporate Strategy in my online MBA program. And it has been very eye opening. It explains that strategy is both planned and emergent. Planned is the one we are most familiar with and often think of when we talk strategy. Emergent is the reality that isn't planned but still emerges. You could plan one thing but end up doing, based on external forces, another thing. Or a mix of both.

I find that I am too much at the mercy of external forces and it's because of the way I run my business. Because I am both the key salesperson and managing director, I readily bend to customer requirements and can't easily throw the "it's not within my power to do this" answer. Result is that most of our corporate strategy is emergent, the result of unplanned responses to customer requests and environment.

There are two ways I could manage the situation and steer the company back to planned strategy. One is by being less emotional and strictly telling customers off when their requirements are not within the structured offerings. That also means I should have structured offerings (which I do for the training arm but don't have for the consulting arm). The second is for me to separate the planning and implementation into two different teams. Or more specifically, at least two different people. I shouldn't be the strategic planner and foot soldier at the same time. It's like being the Pawn and the King at the same time, in Chess.

Currently to achieve the first way, I have decided to cut off consulting. It is too much trouble for too little. Plus the customer always wants to control the entire process/offering. And what's worse is that the customer is many different people in the client organisation -- HR/Procurement will give you their wahala, Finance will force you to accept their payment conditions/terms and everyone in the department you are doing the project for will want to command you. I am too gentle for all those problems and politics. And I deeply hate meetings. So now, I will be 100% turning down consulting projects

For the second way, I guess I will have to wait till the business is big enough to hire more hands. That way I can do more strategy and less foot soldiering. 

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