I was talking to the MD of a medium sized business the other day. He told me excitedly how they had just hired someone with technical experience in an area he was keen for his business to get into. At last, he suggested, they would be able to develop this part of the business with confidence.
He was quite surprised when I told him that I had been talking to another existing and more senior member of his team who also had extensive technical experience in that same area. And this other person had only been hired about a year ago. Had he not known about this area of expertise when he'd hired him, or had he simply forgotten? If he'd had a desire to get into this area, had he not discussed this issue and the organisation's capability with his team?
There is a danger in formulating strategy, in analysing an organisations strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, from within the ivory tower of the C-suite. To succeed in strategy, you've got to get out there and talk to your staff, customers (and prospects) and partners. You've got to build relationships and engage with people around strategic issues on an ongoing basis.