On my way back from a networking coffee this week, “The Man Who Sold The World” by Nirvana played on the radio. Many of you may know that this is a remake of a version by the late David Bowie. With Bowie’s recent death still very fresh in our minds, my thoughts began to wander from the Nirvana Unplugged version to Bowie’s version, seen here on Saturday Night Live in 1979. It made me think about how the same song can sound so different when played by different bands. I didn’t really know Bowie’s version but knew Nirvana’s. Then I watched the video from Saturday Night Live, and I sort of remembered seeing it when I was younger.
Bowie and Nirvana were influential in their respective genres. Bowie was the definition of glam rock, and Nirvana were groundbreakers in grunge. There are many other similarities, and many more differences.
And that is the point. Just like the same song sung by two different artists can sound very different,
The same strategy by two different companies will lead to different outcomes.
For example, if the strategy of two banks is to achieve “organic growth” from within their customer bases, that does not mean that each will be successful. They each need to consider their current markets, the products their current customers use, level of technology prowess, and so on. They also need to determine how aggressively and through which channels they will pursue existing customers. Much of this boils down to the three-legged stool of time, people, and money.
The same strategy by the same company can also lead to different outcomes.
Companies need to have a systematic process for reviewing their current strategy. My recommendation is at least biannually, quarterly is better. Leadership may be able to control variables within a company to minimize the risk to strategic goals, but it cannot control external forces that lead to a reset of its strategy. Leadership down to front line employees must clearly understand your strategy, and implementation plans need to clearly align with the goals. Think about risks that could impact how you execute on project plans. Inevitably, over time, you will need to either change strategy or your approach in order to adapt to these external forces.
Do you need help developing a strategy, reviewing your existing strategy, or implementing standard strategic planning processes? Head to our Contact Us page and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We can even debate Bowie and Nirvana if you’d like.