Informed by received wisdom and practice, many have learned to see strategy as if it is a puzzle. That means, it is tacitly assumed that whatever problem the strategy is meant to solve, it is definable and right answers exist.
The challenge is thus to find a right answer amid vast amounts of industry, market and competitor data through the application of sophisticated strategy frameworks and analysis techniques. Improve any or all of these aspects and the logic is that a better answer is found faster – even when business conditions change.
If business conditions change, particularly in dynamic, complex and unpredictable ways as they do in nearly every market, strategy cannot be a puzzle.
Per definition, puzzles have clear cause-and-effect relationships and hence one or at most a limited number of right answers. If answers are contingent on future interactions of known, unknown or unknowable factors, you are faced with a mystery.
Brexit is a very good example of this. Treating a mystery as if it is puzzle is like trying to solve the unsolvable. It is impossible. Consciously or unconsciously, many business leaders have realized this and given up on strategic planning.