hero:Strategy: the things we forget to vocalize
– 2 min read

Strategy: the things we forget to vocalize

Reading Eeva Raita’s post on combining qualitative and quantitative insights in strategy work1 made me realize something I’ve been pondering for nearly 20 years: why it is sometimes almost impossible to communicate or execute an excellent and well-written strategy. What creates the disconnect, and can we fix some cases without massive damage control?

Using the terminology more akin to research than business led me to think about research strategies. And the base assumptions behind modern scientific research. Starting from the “scientific method is our best tool for understanding the world” to how we formulate the research questions.

In research, these assumptions are – essentially – given. Thus, the strategies employed by the various researchers and teams are usually easy to understand when you read a paper from your field.

In business, agreeing on the base assumptions is much more challenging. Perhaps we agree on Say’s Law2: “Supply creates its own demand.” And we might think that others in the organization believe in the agency model for success:

  1. By having [Y], we’ll get the best people.
  2. With the best people, we create the best value
  3. With the best value, we generate the highest profit

If we expect everyone to agree on Say’s law, it’s enough to strategize how to create visibility for our offering. The rest will follow. Likewise, if we expect everyone to understand the agency model, it’s enough to communicate what’s our [Y] and how we plan to achieve it.

But what if some people disagree or are unaware of one of the assumptions? As we tend to omit the assumptions from our strategy discussions and materials - it creates a situation where people will feel disconnected and unable to challenge the strategy. Or provide insights that would help us improve the strategy.

My money is on this being a much bigger issue than most leaders realize. And if I’m right, someone should have thought about this before. So the next question is, where to find research, thinking, or proposed solutions to defining the base assumptions for a business3 strategy


  1. in Finnish, here (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/eevaraita_strategia-paeuaeutaemksenteko-liiketoimintastrategia-activity-7131166584718426112-MPgB?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop)

  2. Say’s law, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Say%27s_law

  3. I mainly focus on technology strategy work, but it’s not that different from overall strategy or business strategy work. The same lessons and solutions should apply to many problems in all three.