Principles of Strategy

Strategy can be complex and yet – like most things it is better to begin with the basics.

First, strategy can be a helpful business tool and creating our strategy can be worth our time.  Of course, not surprising, it can also be a box we check that has little impact on our progress toward our mission (10-year goal).

My perspective is that if we are going to do it (I highly recommend you do) then it is worth making the effort for it to be meaningful.

Principles to consider:

  • Strategy must be based on our business vision (core values & beliefs, purpose, and mission/10-year goal). Our strategic plan is the road map to get us from ‘here’ (where we are today) to ‘there’ (our mission).
  • ‘I want to grow my business’ is an outcome, not a strategy. Our strategy should outline the path to achieve our desired outcome of growth.
  • Our strategy must be based on reality – all of it, good and bad.
  • Creating our strategy will demand that we make choices. For everything we say ‘yes’ to we are saying ‘no’ to something else.  An effective strategy will leverage our strengths and what makes us unique as a business.

“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

Prof. Michael Porter

  • Whoever will be a part of implementing our strategy needs to be part of its creation. The perspectives of others will add depth to the road map and will provide an avenue for buy-in.

This last point is from Jim Collins.  He points out that there is a difference in how effective businesses engage in the strategic planning process.  These companies utilize the framework of strategic planning to engage in “vigorous debate, infused with the brutal facts and insight seeking, from which comes an iterative series of decisions that add up over time.  It requires discipline and rigor.”

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