My direct experience of developing and implementing business strategy has been rather limited. In the past ten years I have set up and run four companies, three of which are still in business (the eLearning Alliance, eXcellence in eLearning and Airthrey), but these were/are very small – at their peak, none reached a turnover of £½ million or as many as ten employees.
Perhaps more significant was my involvement at senior management level in the Scottish Foundation, where I was Director of Training, and the Open College (UK) Ltd, where I was part of the senior management team. In both these roles I influenced and carried out business strategy, but these experiences are now at least one to two decades old.
My interest in strategy has been sparked mainly by the connections between learning strategy and business strategy. My specialist subjects in the final year of my MBA were Marketing Strategy and HR Strategy. And the original title of my second book, eventually published as Delivering E-Learning (see sidebar), was E-learning Strategy.
This led me to the work of John Kay, whom I cannot recommend highly enough, and most recently to the fascinating Good Strategy/Bad Strategy. I love the way Richard Rumelt debunks the linguistic conceit that equates “strategy” with “important” (a similar misuse is “executive”). Following Rumelt’s advice, my latest strategy priority is to pinpoint obstacles to business growth, and work out how to overcome them. Further advice welcome!
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