As there are winners in every sporting game, likewise, there are also winners and losers in the business world.
The organization’s strategy determines its short-term, medium-term and long-term direction and the actual execution of the plan to achieve objectives separate the winners from the losers.
While strategic principles are unchanging for all time, tactics or the execution of the strategy vary with times and circumstances and must be turned to current situations.
In today’s complex business environment, organizations must always be on the guard of opposing forces that might negatively impact enterprise performance or force them to close doors.
Since managers are the captains of their organizations, always striving to steer the ship in the right direction, they must consider both favourable and unfavorable factors when making strategic decisions.
By considering the positive factors, the manager is better-positioned to make his plan feasible and by taking into account the negative, he or she is able to avoid possible disasters.
This means that managers must strengthen their defense at all times. They need to be proactive rather than reactive if they are to steer their organizations through the unsteady waters and boisterous winds.
Roger Ames once said, “Do not depend on the enemy not coming; depend rather on being ready for him. Do not depend on the enemy not attacking; depend rather on having a position that cannot be attacked.”
Managers must consider different tactical options in order to successfully execute strategy. They need to thoroughly understand the advantages that accompany variation of tactics and how to employ them.
The business environment is evolving tremendously and at a rapid pace. As a result of this, an organization may be on the offensive with one product or service and on the defensive with another.
In this scenario, management and their teams must realize that using the same strategies or tactics to deal with all the circumstances is not a feasible approach.
The options differ depending on whether the organization is under attack or is on the attack.
However, regardless of the circumstances, it is imperative that managers and their teams maintain a spirit of attack.
By maneuvering various tactics, the organization will be better-placed to win the market and customer battle, move one or two steps ahead of competitors, and significantly gain competitive advantage.
Some of the good offenses that an organization may use to best defend themselves include:
- Fostering close customer, supplier and dealer relationships
- Maintaining flatter, meaner and leaner organization
- Owning very strong positions in a niche or particle segment of a product line or business.
It is important to note that strengthening the defense does not mean maintaining the status quo. For example, most organizations make the mistake of trying to serve the old market in a new way instead of going where the market is growing.
The majority of these organizations spend a lot of time focusing on what they can do and deliver to the customer instead of what the customer really wants from the organization.
This misalignment between the customer and the organization always lead to poor relationships which ultimately will affect strategic delivery.
To be successful, managers should seek and focus efforts on value-creating opportunities, seize the initiative and achieve results by offensive action.
On the contrary, if they remain stuck in the defensive mode, they will hardly achieve any strategic intent or improve enterprise performance.
In today’s competitive, dynamic and uncertain business field, managers should maneuver around the various tactics if they are to win the business battle and gain advantage over competitors.
Without thinking about how to maneuver, the idea of fighting when attacked and outnumbered becomes ludicrous.
It is therefore important that management and their team always stay on the offensive side rather than the defensive side of the battle.