A decline in performance will often lead a company to review its strategy.

The assumption is that a new strategy will turn things around.

Built into this is the idea that there is something missing from the strategy – if management can find an insight or new business concept, everything will be fine.

This is the magic wand school of strategy.In many cases the reality is that the best strategy is the one that leaders already know but have just not implemented, either due to organizational politics, lack of commitment (it’s too hard work), or incompetence.

However, that is not an acceptable conclusion of the strategy process. Those responsible say “we already knew that” and “there is nothing new here”.

These leaders are looking for strategy unicorns. The idea that a brilliant new business concept can transform performance on its own.

The truth is usually that performance improvement begins at home with better implementation of the things we know we need to do better, as well as some strategic change and innovation.

Including ‘known’ within a strategy does not make it not a bad strategy.

All strategies contain elements of being competitive plus elements of differentiation.

Sometimes strategy is a statement of the obvious that simply isn’t being executed.