EMH Insights

Good Strategy vs. Bad Strategy

In a June 2011 article from the McKinsey Quarterly entitled “The perils of bad strategy,” author Richard Rumelt addresses how nebulous and empty goals, disguised as “strategy,” can lead companies and organizations into dangerous states of stagnation and declining market share. Examples abound of companies developing “strategies”—or agendas of things that obviously need to be done—without identifying how the obstacles are to be overcome. Even if a company has a strategic plan replete with detail and thorough descriptions on how a goal is to be met, if the problems facing a company are not identified and confronted, then the efficacy of the strategy itself is entirely uncertain. Rumelt characterizes such strategy as “bad strategy.”

“Good strategy,” on the other hand, is marked by three distinct qualities: a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and coherent actions. At EMH Strategy, we develop plans for strategic action for our clients that are marked by each of these qualities, from the initial assessment of the issue facing the client, to the ultimate execution of the carefully designed solution. An example of “good strategy” at work is evident in a recent client of EMH Strategy, a public entity faced with the task of implementing a new set of legislations set to have far-reaching effects on the State of Louisiana and its residents.

Prior to embarking on the project and confronting all of the logistical challenges associated with it, our EMH project team first set out to diagnose the obstacles to successful implementation of the policy at hand. Our consultants identified the potential issues posed by the process that would require the most attention and illuminated the strategic implications of the project itself, addressing what otherwise would have been impediments to success from the beginning of the project. This effectively ensured that all the metrics for success were in place.

After the relevant issues were assessed, EMH consultants then developed the same hands-on approach to mitigate the points of concern that we employ for all of our clients. This personal, time-intensive approach places our top executives in direct and continuous contact with the client, a point of separation from other top management consulting firms. By meeting face-to-face—not over a conference call—with the client, we were able to understand the issues more clearly and provide determinative solutions to the problems as they arose, not at some point down the road. Finally, EMH consultants developed a data-driven process model in order to decisively and coherently carry out the new policy, and provided guidance and assistance with the implementation of the model. The issues facing EMH’s client were addressed (and solutions put in place) from the initial assessment to the final implementation, with close contact from EMH throughout the duration of the project. At EMH Strategy, we dedicate ourselves to crafting “good strategy,” and our work with clients, along with the results that our consultants produce, reflects this dedication.