Don’t Confuse Strategy with Lofty Goals

Summary.    Most companies communicate strategy as a set of aspirations and platitudes. But aspirations aren’t strategy, and that mode of communication leaves employees in the dark. Strategy is a set of hard-to-reverse choices and explaining what these choices are and...

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Most companies communicate strategy as a set of aspirations or good sounding platitudes. For example, a major European multinational had this to say in its annual report: “The key elements of our strategy are to continue our focus on delivering operational excellence, leverage the benefits of our integrated model, reinforce our technological leadership and make intelligent and disciplined investments.” In a similar vein, a U.S. global operator declared that: “Our strategy is based on four pillars: winning with our customers, leading with our culture, expanding our network and maximizing our performance.”