Positioning of Resources is key to Strategy
NOTE: This was originally published as an article post on LinkedIn titled, “On Strategy: Positioning of Resources” by Frank Sowa on 2016/01/07
On Strategy: Positioning of Resources
The most effective military generals throughout history were successful because they knew how to make the most optimal use of the resources they had available to them, in the right manner, and at the right time. It was this understanding of the positioning and proper use of their resources that was perhaps the most essential key to their victories — the absolute core of their successful battlefield strategy.
In national and global military strategy, the means to defend and oppose real and potential threats to national security always is meted based on the strategic positioning of resources, and one of the major roles of the world’s intelligence agencies and analyses arms is to attempt the best ways and new means (not thought of) to achieve a superior positioning of resources and assets so as to always meet the competition (if confrontation sparks up) in a manner that will allow clear advantage.
Positioning of resources must be an ongoing and dynamic approach if you want a strategy to work
This key crux of strategic military planning and pre-battle placements should be the same in all measures of forming strategy — especially in business, and finance. Better control and optimal use and positioning of resources (materials, suppliers, marketing, product/services, employees, patron customers, facilities, contractors, automation and robotic systems) set against those of the rival competition will provide advantage and should affect the success or failure of how things play out. It also needs to be noted that as conditions change, or the “engagement” space changes — so must the decisions on positioning — if ANY strategy is to remain viable. Thus, on strategy — positioning of resources must be an ongoing and dynamic approach, if there is any hope of prolonging the sustainability and the potentials for ongoing success.
New breakthroughs and disruptive innovations in technologies should not change the core crux of why strategy always needs to ‘dynamically’ position its resources properly — thus, the value is met by realigning resources to best meet the changing conditions. And, with the product or financial cycles shortening in the 21st Century, there is a definitive acceleration of change in all facets of strategy creation. Those leaders (even those in start-ups) who recognize this and adapt with a knowledge-based approach that uses innovations in data analytics to make quicker, better, and smarter decisions faster — will provide their organizations with the best windows for success.
It should also be noted that all great generals and strategists going back to Sun Tzu always cautioned that while superior positioning was key to strategy — that a wise leader recognizes that in executing winning strategy, it should never be a foregone conclusion that any organization must do battle with its rivals to win. In fact, Sun Tzu explained that winning without battle (by superior positioning of resources) was a hundredfold better.
Yet, in my over 35 years as a strategy consultant, why have I found in the start-ups, and in the Fortune 100’s I’ve worked and called upon, that so few sustain a business model that creates a dynamic means to position and re-position resources based on analytics? Why is it that most strategy approaches focus on static (dust-collecting) “plans?” Why is it that so many focus on the competition (as it was when they started the process — not as it really is today)? Why is it that strategy and coaching gurus focus so much on execution (which is only at best serving to efficiently hone in the low hanging fruit) and strangle most aspects and ideas that could sustain a desirable success rate? Strategy is NOT a program — and it is NOT a short-term or quarterly returns program. Stop making it one!
Is it any wonder that when it comes to strategy — well over 70% of businesses report they’ve had less than desired results?