This week, I expound a radical approach to curbing abuse of the term ‘strategy’. Why did I chose to pick on strategy this week? Simples, it is the most over abused term in the entire deck of bullshit bingo cards.
For me, strategy in a business context only has one truly appropriate meaning. Strategy is a cohesive and coherent response to a significant challenge. Nothing more and nothing less.
Good strategy should be about designing and, more importantly, executing a deliberate plan to respond to a substantial and manifest opportunity. Good strategy is not a PowerPoint slide deck, Big Data boloney or the casting of sortes. It should not be overly complicated, obtuse, or impractical. Strategy is not a wish list, or a warm and fuzzy expression of faith or a muddled concoction of conviction, discrimination and bias.
Strategy is practical, effective and doable, if it isn’t, it isn’t strategy.
What really gets my goat is the appropriation of the term ‘strategy’ in order to lend unneeded importance to affairs. It’s when strategy is used in place of terms such as approach, concept, process or tactics, etc. So, we get concoctions such as Big Data strategy, tape backup strategy, thinking outside the box strategy, staff Christmas party strategy and eating-a-full-Scottish breakfast strategy. It’s all wrong, and it has to stop.
Here is my proposal. Whenever a person wants to use the term ‘strategy’, and unless there is a compelling case to the contrary – as if it’s their dying word, they must replace ‘strategy’ with ‘jihad’.
Whilst tools like Word can be programmed to substitute the inappropriate use of the term ‘strategy’ with ‘jihad’, the verbal misuse of the term is far harder to police. So, to that end, all offices must have a Bullshit Bingo collection box – especially those with real and aspiring management consultants – and every time someone inappropriately uses the term ‘strategy’, spoken or written, they have bung ten quid as a nominal fee for their deviant digression – each and every time.
If we impose the Jihad Strategy Replacement Rule we will soon see how fast the incongruous use of ‘strategy’ decreases, and how slow the uptake of the use of ‘jihad’ will be.
A classic win-win.
Sorry, I’ll get my coat.
Many thanks for reading.
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