Dear CMO:

Someone else posted on this thought recently, and whoever they are they deserve some praise. So in the spirit of borrowing rather than stealing, let me be as redundant as I need to be:

There are no strategic problems. Only personality problems.

Corporations are collections of personalities, sometimes functional, that get together every weekday to get something done. When things don’t get done, or can’t get done, or can’t be navigated through or simply framed up, you’ve got a personality disorder — not a “strategic issue.”

When our strategy presentation is seventy pages long and our corporate opinion survey says that 27.3% of employess understand it (plus or minus 30%), it doesn’t mean they’re not paying attention. It may not even mean we have the wrong strategy. It clearly means that at very least, we have a communication problem.

Most entities rely on people getting things done, regardless of the business you’re in. We can make our money by sewing fabric in Vietnam or producing cold fusion in Texas, but when people don’t get the job done, nothing else seems to fill the void.

I had a conversation with a very bright friend on my way in today and we both compared recent situations where it wasn’t the technology, the pricing, the competition, the economic outlook, or global warming that caused a company to fail. It was people. Always.

Being strategically stuck means we’ve got a personality problem to deal with: we’ve got the wrong person making the decision, the wrong people collaborating badly, and the wrong mix of disfunctional personalities working on the wrong things.

And when we’re in charge, it’s our job to tackle this first. The rest falls into place.