Strategy is Exciting, Execution is Boring

By Harsh Mariwala, Chairman Marico Ltd.

Strategy is exciting, execution is boring. However, both are required for success and are interdependent. Strategy is based on your vision and mission which in turn refers to what one wants to achieve. That is to say– I want to be a market leader in my segment.

Strategy should be done once a year.  The ideal time being, December or January, so that it can be in aligned to one’s budgets in March or April. The reassessment can be done in maximum three years as the environment is dynamic, volatile and unpredictable. Realign the strategy if something comes up after 3 – 4 months of freezing your strategy. Be flexible and fluid.

In case of multiple strategies, pose these basic questions –

  • Will I be a market leader if I adopt this strategy?
  • Do I have the ‘right to win’?

If it is a YES, go ahead.

The strategy document must have a list of DO’s and DONT’s. While reviewing strategy, one must ensure that at least the basic targets have been met. Start working on your strategy with a NO-CONSTRAINT outlook (manpower and financial constraint shouldn’t be there) and search the best possible solutions. If the strategy is good, people and funding will happen. However, if the risks are high, one should tone down a bit.

A SWOT analysis is a must for every organisation. The strategy must be based on leveraging your strengths and nullifying your weaknesses. Also, how one can convert their strength into a new opportunity. Startups may not need the SWOT test, because they are still launching. Competitive framework is a critical and you must know your competition well.

Some key notes:

  • Visualise the changing scenarios, disruptors over a 3 – 5 year period.
  • If one wishes to climb a new level, think and decide.
  • Gather ALL the information on competitors.
  • Interact with the stakeholders; study their products/offerings; participate in the industry events – locally and globally.
  • Environmental analysis is the first step for creating a strategy.
  • Identify certain great leaders in ones sector.
  • Capture trends of the market; consumer behaviour; new government policies; political upheavals; manpower shortage in one’s sector; global crashes; potential disruptors etc.
  • For this, one can even hire external consultants to get more objective and diverse views.

The organisation must have an identified task force for the creation and execution of strategy.
This will help in employee retention and the buy-ins will be stronger with value-added inputs. The key is to sensitise one’s entire task force to gather market information – whether IT or competition analysis.

To get the best results one should be ‘PRO-ACTIVE’ and not ‘REACTIVE.’  It should be a part of one’s organisation culture and must be ingrained at all levels.

For strategy, financial modelling should depend on one’s business. Overall it should be directional and it can be reassessed or realigned every year. Only if there is a big capital expenditure involved, you may need to dive deep. Else, the ‘nitty-gritty’ should be ignored. Manpower issues and retention is always a challenge. If the attrition levels are higher, then one must, in advance, hire to compensate. However, key talent must be retained.

The major portion of the path to success lies in the confidence and prudence of the entrepreneur. One’s ability to engage themselves with the market dynamics is what decides one’s graph of success.

Category: Business