This is a great proverb/saying that every marketer should keep in mind when developing and executing new initiatives. I’ve seen it happen time and again in large corporations where fear starts to grip employees during challenging times so they overcompensate by trying to do more. The result is a flurry of tactics that get launched that lack a cohesive strategic framework. Inevitably there is no way to evaluate the long term value of some tactics because it’s unclear how they contribute to the broader strategic goals of the organization. Some tactical initiatives can be successful in driving short-term results but if they don’t enhance/build the core brand values that are key to the business then you risk doing more harm than good in the long run.
Oversight is required to ensure rogue employees aren’t creating make work projects that may look interesting but don’t provide strategic value. So how do you manage this? Well, in four words…challenge the business plan.
Put employees on the hot seat to defend their programs, ask the hard questions about how an initiative is linked to the strategic priorities for the company. If a manager can’t adequately defend their initiative with sound arguments either send them back to the drawing board or make the hard decision and kill the program. Great strategy is as much about saying NO to programs as it is about saying YES. Don’t get fooled in to thinking that tactics in and of themselves are beneficial.