Strategic consulting entails not being able to talk about what I discuss with clients, or sometimes who they are. Without spilling those details, I’ll offer four observations from recent consulting engagements.
The do-more-with-less fallacy has created a purely tactical focus that many smart people find hard to escape. A recent set of meetings brought me together a strong team to discuss fundamental strategic questions about their work. In retrospect, the first hour we were together would have been best spent outlining in tangible way, the difference between strategy and tactics. The meeting sponsor and I assumed, because this was a smart, talented, successful group, that this would be understood. It wasn’t until a few hours into the meeting, as we kept pushing the group away from tactical discussions, that we understood the need to make a clear distinction between strategy and tactics. When tactics are all you have time to do, changing your mindset is a challenge. This group was able to do that, and made tangible gains into helping identify key strategic gaps.
“Do more with less” is still stalking too many offices. I’ve heard several variations of this lately. It doesn’t improve performance. It’s a recipe for burnout and driving away talented people.
Many businesses still operate without a clear understanding of the lifetime value of a customer. That’s a number every business can use to inform marketing decisions, but it’s seldom known.
Data matters, but an obsession with it can lead down some unproductive paths. There are some campaigns where the scale doesn’t justify comprehensive measurement, particularly when those leads or customers aren’t integrated into a nurture campaign. Never spend dollars to count pennies.