The three cardinal sins of strategy – part 3

When you come to a fork in the road, take it!

Jack was about to blow up. As long time CEO of several companies he had seen a bit of everything, but nothing pissed him off as much as a human mistake in the 11th hour. He had hired John himself after they had worked together for several years, when John was his favorite partner at his favorite consultancy, and this was the first time, he had done anything remotely like this. Still, he had folded like a cheap suitcase.

On the other hand Johns number 2 had really stepped up. He had seen Jane present a few times in the past at board and management meetings. She was extremely smart, quick on her feet and as it turned out now also not one to buckle under pressure. Maybe… Well, it he would have to look into this later. Regardless of their relative merits, they had dumped a serious problem in his lap. Their carefully constructed strategy process turned out to have major flaws. Too long and poor tee up risked a bad strategy – and a classic change management approach would likely draw out or even worse distort implementation. In all fairness though this is how it had been done for years – decades even. The question was – could they save it and their careers at the same time?

They had briefly discussed their options. Even if they were going to change the process now, they would not be able to fix everything. The time they had spent could not come back – they could not take the 8 months they had spent on the process so far and magically turn that into 2 or 3. And the implementation could never start on day 1 – that was 8 months ago! But they could maybe try to tee it up better and use that as a test of their previous decisions. And they could do a decent implementation. But they would need help – and he would need to get his chairman on board.

Jack had been in this job for almost five years and worked with his chairman for most of that time with great success. Of course he now had to wonder how their past success would stack up against their potential success with the right strategy. Regardless he had the confidence of his chairman and he believed in doing the right thing for the company – he had always loved the Warren Buffett quote about it taking 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. It was time to make a call.

Yet another cliffhanger – wonder how the chapters in this story always ends in such a place…? Well, if you cannot wait for the next part, read some of the other articles or contact or +45-23103206.

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