No Strategy Survives Contact with the Market

The recent collapses of the financial markets highlights the existence of change as a force of nature in the business world.  Change happens. All the time.  If stability doesn’t exist, it doesn’t make sense to plan strategy around stable business markets.

To paraphrase Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, the Chief of Staff of the German Army in the 1800’s: no strategy  survives contact with the market.  Rather than indicating that strategy is pointless, the comment is meant to show that strategy must react to changes in the market.  It must be fluid rather than fixed, open-minded rather than dogmatic.  It is a game of options and optimization.

The key, then, to effective strategy development is to ensure you have options and contingency plans and that you are continuously working to develop and optimize these plans.  To quote Moltke again, “Plans are nothing, Planning is everything”.  The essence of this thought is that the plan will invariably change before it is completed so don’t concentrate on the plan, concentrate on the processes of planning.  The plan will be obsolete as soon as you e-mail it.

MJM Consulting – Helping companies grow.

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