Are you increasing your strategic testing?

Every business is facing a more uncertain future environment. The logical response is for every business to shift their strategic actions towards failing early, often and cheaply.

In a business environment with little uncertainty, strategy is about climbing the mountain in front of you. Analysis can point the way to the “one right answer”, then you can launch the whole company towards executing it with determination.

In uncertain business environments, there is no clear answer. Strategy becomes more experimental as you identify where your mental model may be out of date and design how to test your new assumptions about how the business works. You will create a portfolio of tests, each designed to give answers to these assumptions as cheaply and quickly as possible. They are the strategic equivalent of “rapid prototyping”.

Regardless of where you lie on this spectrum, your future business environment has become more uncertain recently. Has the sort of strategic actions you take changed too? Are you running more cheap, fast tests than you used to and cutting down on the “mountain climbing” initiatives?

Shifting your strategic actions from a few major initiatives to a portfolio of tests will require cultural change. For example, it will shift the focus from individual success (by definition, you expect some of the tests to fail even with the best efforts of great leaders) to organisational success. You will also need to staff project and shift resources frequently.

Creating a portfolio of tests will make your organisation more flexible.