So what’s your view of a strategy? Is it a rigid plans, created by the senior leadership team, then cascaded from the top down and then followed methodically and logically?

What if market conditions change in between the annual / bi-annual planning cycle, and new opportunities arise or customer demand evolves – none of which could have been foreseen at the planning stage?

Do you stick resolutely to your prescribed path, or do you evolve and adapt your plans to embrace changing circumstances? And do you enable your key senior managers to respond effectively?

In 1906 in the Prussian military manual, ‘Exerziersreglement’, Ernst von Wrisberg wrote:

“Combat demands leaders who have been educated to think for themselves and men who will act autonomously”

Whilst the language is dated, and the context different from modern business environments, the essence is logical!

In Prussia, the commanders understood the end objective; they knew the operating procedures and parameters within which to operate. How they deployed the resources available to them was up to them, based on their experience and local knowledge, but always with the final objective firmly in mind.