Big Victories Come From Small Wins, Says Strategy Expert Richard Martin
July 1, 2013
We tend to aim for big, strategic victories, but most success actually comes by detailed operational planning, careful logistical preparation, and accumulation of numerous tactical wins.
Military history is replete with tales of major strategic manoeuvres leading to massive victories: the German defeat of France in 1940, Operation Bagration on the Eastern Front, the closing of the Falaise Gap in Normandy in August 1944. But these massive victories resulted either from clever manoeuvring or after long slogging attrition battles, with meticulous logistical and operational planning, and a succession of small wins at the tactical level.
Companies often aim for the big acquisition or the blockbuster product that will launch them into the stratosphere. These things can happen, but the surer road to success lies in meticulous planning, accumulation of small successes over extended periods of time, strong morale and superb leadership at all levels of the organization. TD built its presence in the US carefully over decades by acquiring small local and regional banks and using these as a stepping stone to bigger acquistions. All the while, the bank stayed profitable and was able to generate the capital to continue expanding. It was a long campaign, not an overnight success, more like an infiltration than blitzkrieg. The big moves get everyone excitedand we occasionally need thembut it is the careful campaign, logistical buildup, and small wins that are the surer road to victory.
Do you have the staying power to survive and thrive beyond the initial push into a new product or market segment? Can you sustain the advance and turn tactical and operational wins into strategic victory?
Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.
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