There’s an old saying about military ventures: “Amateurs talk about strategy. Professionals focus on logistics.”Amateurs talk about strategy. Professionals focus on logistics. Click To Tweet
Strategy is the darling that garners all the attention. Strategy is sexy, glamorous, and sells more consulting gigs than the nitty-gritty details of logistics. Superior strategy puts you in the position to win, but is insufficient alone.
It’s worth thinking about the value of both strategy and logistics. Set the direction, define the overall principles of operations (“This is a ditch, this is a ditch, and here is the road we’re choosing”), and then focus your energy on getting the logistics in place to support the venture.
Both military and business history are replete with stories about victories going to the people with better logistics. It’s unsexy, unglamorous, but essential. Consider companies like Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Uber, and Airbnb. They have a strong strategy, but they win because they execute so well on logistics. Logistics is like the underwater view of the “gliding” duck – furious paddling that isn’t seen above the water line. For companies, logistics is the basis of making something easy and delightful for customers.
You should think about strategy and logistics level at the individual project level, as well. Consider the difficult projects you’ve been involved in – how many failed primarily because of poor strategy, and how many failed because of logistics challenges? My observation is that more projects fail from a logistics perspective than a strategy perspective. What can you do to improve the logistics in your current projects?