The disadvantages of using simple templates for business strategy

Most organisations manage their strategies using simple templates. However, there are many disadvantages to this approach.

Most organisations manage their strategies using simple templates. However, there are many disadvantages to this approach.

First, let's look at the advantages:

  1. You can download simple templates for most strategy tasks from the Internet. Many of them are free.
  2. They're easy to use in tools you probably already have, such as MS-Word, MS-PowerPoint or MS-Excel.
  3. They provide some guidance, structure and consistency.
  4. Many of them look very attractive.

Now, let's look at the disadvantages:

  1. Anyone can upload a free template to the Internet. Many of them are of dubious quality. They misinterpret the theory and make assumptions that may not apply to your business or industry.
  2. They're not connected to each other. If you make changes to one, you may not remember to consider the consequences for and make changes to another. So they quickly get out of sync.
  3. They may be inconsistent, with gaps and overlaps between them. You are left to figure out and manage these for yourself.
  4. You have to store them somewhere. This is usually an unstructured file storage or SharePoint server. Worse still, many get stored in email archives. These storage systems have no idea of the information they are storing and so provide no support in locating and relating it.
  5. You end up with multiple inconsistent versions of the same information.
  6. The information is static - dead. It plays no active role in helping you to develop and execute your business strategy.

The result is usually a mess. Lots of materials that look like strategy, but never quite come together in a way that adds up the way it should.

I've seen organisations whose strategy teams spend most of their time managing documents. Copying the latest copies of slides between different decks. Checking which documents are up-to-date and which need to be updated. Chasing team members for updates. All of this, instead of actually developing and executing better strategies.

The result is that organisations fall out of alignment. Staff get frustrated. Results don't get delivered. Strategy starts to seem like a bureaucratic chore rather than a value add.

So what's the answer? solves these problems.

  • a single system dedicated to strategy development and execution.
  • a single source of truth about your strategy - its rationale, your strategic direction, your plans, and the progress you're making in executing it.
  • available to everyone who needs it, all the time, wherever they are, and on whatever device they have.
  • in which every piece of relevant information has a defined place.
  • in which the relationships between all information are clearly defined and easy to navigate.
  • with active guidance on what you should do next and why.
  • producing consistent, professional output that's always up to date.

The result: a strategy that works, that everyone can understand and align to, that gets delivered, and that delivers results for your business.

See also

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Updated: 2023-09-21