A CHAIN LINK SYSTEMS STRATEGY HELPS A LEADER TO BUILD A SUSTAINED STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE AND MAKE THEIR SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES IMITATION PROOF.
Leaders shape their organisation for the better by setting good proximate objectives, objectives that are feasible and that can reasonably be executed in view of the current capabilities of the corporate entity. An example is President Kennedy’s call for the United States to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. A chain link systems strategy targeting the building and maintenance of a high quality chain-link system of activities, that does not lend itself to imitation is another example.
A proximate objective galvanizes organisational energy and focus. Its accomplishment makes the biggest difference and gives an organisation a sound competitive advantage.
An important duty of a leader is to simplify the complexity and ambiguity of a problem and avail the rank and file of the organisation a simpler problem that is solvable.
Foresight is often hampered when a leader is dealing with a situation that is highly uncertain and dynamic. Hence, it is wise to make the strategic objective quite proximate or feasible in this instance.
The proximate or feasible objective is frequently shaped by forecasts of the future. Therefore, the more uncertain the future, the wiser it becomes to take a strong position, create options and build advantages
Organisations shin up the ladder of success by setting high level proximate or feasible objectives that create goals for lower level units of the organisation.
Mastering the basics of its business helps an organisation to concentrate on the proximate or feasible objectives. In essence, concentrating on certain objectives and making them a priority necessarily assumes that many other crucial aspects of the business will adequately be taken care of.
A leader with a special skill or insight for removing limiting factors will be successful.
To build a sustained strategic advantage and make their systems and processes imitation proof, effective leaders create constellations of activities that are chain-linked. Strategic leaders leverage a chain link systems strategy. A system is said to have a chain-link logic if its performance is limited by its weakest subunit or link. A weak link adversely affects the strength of the whole chain and there is no worthwhile gain in strengthening the other links. IKEA, the Swedish Company that designs ready-to-assemble furniture that it advertises through its own catalogues and sells through special IKEA-owned stores exemplifies this chain-link approach. Their series of chain-linked activities maintained at high levels of quality and tuned up to complement each other in quality creates a dynamic and efficient system that is resistant to imitation. On the contrary, a series of chain-linked activities low in quality, as presented by General Motors circa 2007, created a stuck system. Improving only a fraction of the activities creates minimal impact.