Quick move or consistent strategy?

When a company sees clear threats, it must make the decision whether to go for creating a long-term strategy or to try a quick move but without repercussions over time.

by | Feb 2, 2021

Today more than ever, in a pandemic situation of constant adaptation, it is especially relevant for companies to choose between implementing a quick movement or working and defining a medium/long-term strategy.

Many of the large companies in our ecosystem have decided to go for what is called “digital transformation”, a concept that integrates many aspects, but often translated into “we must innovate, do digital marketing and digitize the entire company in the next three months”.

Digital transformation covers aspects such as cultural transformation, where the entire team must be aligned with the change and the internal processes involved; artificial intelligence, voice digital assistants, robotic automation processes, cybersecurity, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, chatbots …, aspects that do not always apply to all companies and that is far from being their reality in most cases.

Digital marketing is a type of marketing that uses new measurement tools applied to new technological and digital spaces such as the Internet or mobile. Technology makes it possible to create personalized products and services and to measure everything that happens to improve the experience. Nevertheless, for digital marketing to work, it is essential to make a strategic plan that lays the foundations to define what the company needs or wants to improve, and see what path it should take to achieve it. A good marketing plan begins with an analysis of the business situation and the market, followed by the establishment of clear objectives for the company, from which it sets out the marketing strategies to be followed, and finally sets the deadlines for meeting the proposed objectives.

Innovation, as J. A. Schumpeter said, “Is the introduction of new products and services, new processes, new sources of supply and changes in the organization, on a continuous basis, and oriented to the client, consumer or user”. Innovation is key in terms of positioning, since it is the way to create advantages over your competitors.

The conclusion that ends up emerging from a survey of business intentions is that (in many cases), companies consider that most of the decisions that structurally affect an organization can be taken quickly and without a detailed analysis.

Any of the aforementioned aspects, without a prior strategic analysis, end up being translated into very specific actions that may produce some results in the medium term, but not in a sustainable and clearly not very relevant way. In this sense, we recommend listening to the Distraction vs Opportunity podcast

A company that carries out a single isolated action such as a digital advertising campaign, that implements teleworking and cloud organization, or that invests once in innovation, will not save the situation in which it finds itself today, whatever it may be.

Due to the current situation -but also for some years now-, we have a large volume of zombie companies in our territory, which have currently exchanged loans for ICOS and ERTE to extend their subsistence (although in some cases it is probably already too late and the competition or the situation has passed over them). Unfortunately, however, they will not be able to overcome the current crisis without a deep strategic analysis.

We are used to seeing that quick moves are prioritized to try to hide deficiencies in companies, either due to time or capacity problems, or to a lack of knowledge of what is really improvable or deficient in the organization. The current situation causes the economic point to take special relevance in the decision to make an investment to analyze the company’s strategy (beyond the time involved), but it is clear that, without a rigorous and transversal analysis, the solutions will not be consistent nor will they save the company.

Time, as it also happens in our personal lives, is often our greatest enemy. Due to timing problems and the prioritization of the company’s day-to-day activities, an indispensable fact in any company, we are reducing the time we dedicate to thinking about the company as a whole, the path it should follow, the values it pursues, the customer focus, the performance of the teams in terms of production…. This fact, after a while, ends up in a situation where competitors have passed us by, the market has changed, or we are affected by any other factor; but we do not know why, we have not adapted to the new reality and we are no longer in the optimal situation where we should be.

On the other hand, we would like to highlight a fact that is not always taken into account and that for us is indispensable. The application of a deep strategic analysis and its subsequent implementation following the recommended tactics is an action that should be done every 3 to 5 years, but more importantly, it should be done when the company’s situation is positive or, at least, it is not steadily declining in terms of results. This fact is relevant because, as Roger L. Martin said in his book Play to Win: “Being strategic is about making specific decisions to win in the marketplace. These decisions must be made firmly and it is easier when everything is going well.

The strategies that are applied in companies should always be implemented taking into account the resources that the company has, subsequently, a corporate operation could be carried out in terms of financing if necessary. Because of this fact, it is important to perform an analysis when enjoying good financial health and being able to take risks in terms of investment (whether in innovation or in any other aspect).

At the same time, to be careful in terms of decision-making, a quick move is not the same as a quick win. A quick move refers to following or focusing on the quick realization of some aspect or project of the company, without a deep prior analysis and often guided by what the majority is doing. On the other hand, a quick win is an improvement that is visible, has immediate benefits and can be delivered quickly, but always follows a cross-cutting strategic analysis. The best quick wins are inexpensive, have a narrow and focused scope, and are easy to implement, and can be fully done within 60 to 90 days. Quick wins provide project momentum through initial value that has been analyzed and filtered into an overall strategy.

Many companies have never conducted an in-depth strategic analysis (for whatever reason), but beyond the fact that it is necessary on a regular basis, strategy is the guide that any company must follow to achieve a goal, often clear, but without the necessary tools and tasks to reach it. To invest and dedicate time to strategy is to invest in the proper functioning and future of the company.