• MAP Asia Pacific Ltd

5 Myths About Strategy

There are lies, there are big lies, and then there are myths. And myths are the worst of the three.

Unless you have sealed yourself off in a social media echo chamber, lies are easy to spot. Except, that is, when the lie is a big one. People hearing or reading big lies start to doubt themselves and think ‘maybe I have got things completely wrong’. That’s why politicians and propagandists tell big lies. They’re not trying to assert a truth so much as sow doubt and confusion about what is true. That’s bad, but a smart person can resist a big lie by looking at the evidence at hand.

Myths present a different, subtler trap, which is what makes even smart people fall for them. They are usually based on a plausible half-truth, and they do not immediately lead you astray if you start to act on them. It’s only with the passage of time that you realize that you’ve made a mistake, but by then your wrong choices can’t be unmade and the damage is done.

We encounter myths in most realms of human endeavour, and the discipline of strategic thinking is no exception. Here are five of the most pernicious ones I’ve encountered in a long career studying strategy and advising companies about it:

Myth 1: Strategy is about the long-term

Myth 2: Disruptors change strategy all the time

Myth 3: Competitive advantage is dead

Myth 4: You don’t really need a strategy; you just need to be agile

Myth 5: You need a digital strategy