Over the last few days I’ve been looking at the “Four Hallmarks of Bad Strategy” from Richard Rumelt’s book Good Strategy/Bad Strategy. Each of these will be linked to a South African example and concluded with a tip to avoid that element of bad strategy.

The fourth and final element of bad strategy that Rumelt highlights is that of “bad strategic objectives”. He explains that there there are two types of bad strategic objectives:

  1. Dogs dinner objectives: instead of having one or two key strategic objectives, an organisation will try to write up a wish list.
  2. Blue sky objectives: a “blue sky objective” is a simple statement with no path to achieve it

South African Example: Kauai Straws

I saw a great example of this the other day. I was at Kauai and noticed that they’d put a sign up that said they were no longer serving their drinks with straws. This is a really great initiative because single use straws are an unnecessary waste.

However, the sign also read that if you did want a straw you could ask the cashier for one. And clearly the cashier had gotten frustrated with this, so they moved the straws to next to the sign.

This nullified Kauai’s entire strategic objective to eliminate straws. Because it was a “blue sky” objective that didn’t have a path to achieve it

Setting good strategic objectives

Setting better strategic objectives involves two main considerations. First, keep them simple and focused. Test them by seeing if they can be recited easily by anyone they apply to.

Secondly, set objectives that have paths to achieving them. If you want to remove the straws, find a substitute or get rid of them entirely. Set tangible links to how your strategy will be successful, otherwise it is meaningless.

Image was taken at the Kauai 

Song of the day: Mitis - Away
Blog 120/365. Read more about my #365of25 journey here


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