The way organizations look at the topic of “strategy” has fundamentally changed. Drivers of these changes are the four factors from the VUCA acronym, i.e. volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
Strategy used to be seen as the art of omission. Of the many possible paths that bring me to my goal, I choose the best one and then leave out everything that does not belong to this path. Often, this resulted in marching directions for many years, which, however, were overtaken by reality after only a few months. As a result, strategies often became more and more generic, until they were soon only trivial declarations of intent with regard to self-evident things (increase sales, increase customer satisfaction, promote innovation, etc.). The process of finding such a strategy alone often took and still takes several months in large companies.
An expression of this development is the fact that strategies were often printed matter – elaborately designed and “coordinated with everyone, but above all top-down, thought up by a staff unit of the company management.
In the VUCA world, all this is not only difficult, but often even negligent. Strategies have to become more short-term, they have to emerge quickly and they have to be changed quickly. They must emerge in the middle of the organization, they must allow for diversity. Strategies must not be constricting, they must encourage experimentation. A good strategy leaves many options open.
Today, strategy work is a dialogic, iterative process, conceived from the customer’s point of view.