Tuesday, 17 November 2015
Friday, 13 November 2015
Success begets success. An old idiom and perhaps the genesis of competitive benchmarking or different strategy matrices. The reason of benchmarking is to get ahead of competitors. It has been used extensively across one and all type of industries and companies. Essentially for reasons where companies easily get business performance numbers to compete for, like performance parameters, process parameters etc. But the question is, does benchmarking get the expected success for organisations?
I see an inherent fallacy in this process of what I call - imitating others. What goes in benchmarking, I examined and found that the entire process is faulty. In general, organisations try imitating other successful organisations on certain characteristics which seemingly has brought success to them. These characteristics could be defined by a business strategy – a culmination of various processes to run a business. Even ‘personal benchmarking’ has its parallel where individuals get into this trapping by following blindly any other successful person. Close examination reveals that imitation of characteristic does not include a very critical element but primarily imitates only content of a strategy as organisations do not share entire spectrum of a strategy & the thought behind it. Competition only try imitating based on whatever information or content is leaked out in the market. To certain extent besides content, how the content is implemented in the organisation is also known in the market, although in a limited manner. The study across industries concludes that imitation per se has given very limited success to organisations. In some instances, imitation has even derailed the progress.
Based on study, failure or limited success happens for the reason that the entire process of benchmarking lacks the most critical element in it. To summarise, in the current state of benchmarking, only two elements i.e. Content and Execution process are known to competitions which are looking for quick success by imitating business strategy without knowing details of conditions and circumstances which necessitated the specific strategy in the successful organisation. The third element – the very purpose of the benchmarking as per study is Intent which is most critical for the success to achieve. I have found many organisations struggling, first to define & decide upon the Intent per se and second, making all its employees aligned to it. Inconsistency and incoherent definition do provide another challenging aspects to organisation with regard to a strategy. The success can only be achieved when intent or purpose is clearly defined and pursued by an organisation.
Conclusively, three elements, namely Intent, Content and Execution make a unique relationship among themselves and gives ICE Model of Business Strategy. The relationship is unique in its effect on each other. It is unilateral between Content and Execution but two dimensional between Intent & Content and Execution & Intent as shown below:
Primarily, Intent of a business strategy defines the content but based on execution experience, Intent can be modified and resultantly content needs to be rebuilt. In the same manner, Execution also helps in reconsidering Intent based on changed circumstances and conditions in the market while implementing a business strategy. Intent and Execution need to be dynamic in nature to match the market needs.
But, relationship between Content and Execution is unidirectional in nature. Based on Content and its requirement, execution strategy is developed and implemented. Any experience while implementing a strategy may give rise to new dimensions but that should not be taken to change the content itself of a strategy. Reason, any change in the content may lead to change in the entire purpose & execution and therefore, the selected strategy may lose its direction & intended goal.
Intent is most critical in this three dimension model as it is always very specific time, situations and resources required to achieve a strategy. It is this Intent which provides basic purpose for an organisation moving from its current position to another but desired position. Intent to Intent is very different and specific. Therefore, benchmarking or Imitation of a successful strategy in an organisation may not be as successful as intent may have either changed or necessitate a change due to change conditions and environment in a particular organisation. Organisations should restrain from copying & pasting Content & Execution. Advisable is first deciding upon the purpose per se and then take help of other successful organisations by looking at their content and execution strategy if intent has some common characteristics and not placing Content and Execution of a different Intent, having no linkages among these three elements..
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