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The ultimate strategic question is how can we be unstoppable?


Let’s talk about strategy.
The classical strategic questions are:

  • whom do want to serve (why?)
  • what do we want to offer?
  • and how will we offer it (consistently)?

So if you can answer these questions consistently, you might win. There’s a catch though.
You might have all the elements in place and still fail.
And why is that?
Because strategy execution is about change. And change is about people.

Strategy is about change and change is about people.

It’s never about technology. You can solve the technology challenge more easily.
It’s about the behaviour people have, their (bad) habits, what they want, how they think, what they feel and need. It’s about having ideas, being resilient, being willing and able to work and be one’s best self.
Bummer. That’s hard to influence.

So the (extra) question to ask is: how will we be unstoppable?


So what do we need to do to be(come) unstoppable? Ask that question. There are two reactions / objections:

  1. we don’t know what is going to stop us. (Exact, disruption is behind every corner)
  2. so we don’t know what we need to be unstoppable.

You will not solve the first objection easily. But the second argument, I don’t agree with. Organisations need to be prepared to face the unpreparable.
You could call that resilience.
So start preparing. Use or develop whatever capability you need to do that: superforecasting, agility, ambidexterity, autodisruption, extreme customer centricity, super learning, resilience, continuous listening, radical innovation, internal entrepreneurship, design thinking, human-centricity, … (go to a business library for the latest terms).
Indeed, these are maybe fads. I’m not sure if they’ll do the trick. And let’s not follow them blindly. But what I do know is that it’s going to be individual and collective behaviour of people that will make you unstoppable. And you’ll need to find a way that is unique for your organisation. 

Being Unstoppable is about Behaviour

And so as a leader ask that ultimate strategic question, and look for the answer in the teams of people who want to do a great job for their current and future customers and be their best selves. And in that process, the quality of your leadership will be crucial as well.
So think about it.

Originally posted as article on LinkedIn.

David Ducheyne is the founder of Otolith. As a former HR and business leader he focuses now on humanising strategy execution.

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