What makes for a good strategy?

Everyone does it differently. This is my version of the truth…

A good strategy:

– Is built with a set of assumptions about the emerging future environment (Research)
– With analysis of the expected implications of this environment (Collective analysis – wisdom of crowds)
– And a realistic view of your unique set of assets, skills, positioning and collective abilities (Highly developed subject matter input)
– While purposefully shaping the attributes of your environment that you have control over for your benefit (Knowledge and strategy around competitive forces – Porter’s 5)

It is the CHOICE of how an organization is repositioning itself for the future, given this set of knowledge and assumptions.

Why create planning standards?

Is the quality of management practice as it relates to the development and implementation of direction a determining factor in your overall success? I’d suggest that it is. It’s for this reason that creating consistency in how your divisions and teams go about doing this is something that companies can’t choose to ignore any longer. It’s impossible for managers to align to an unknown expectation, so if you have more than 50 people working for your organization, you’d probably benefit from deciding on a standard for what (specifically) is expected of managers.

In most businesses, operational demands compete with strategic priorities. That’s why most managers spend less than a few hours a month thinking about strategy. It’s a juggling act, but the challenge is that the organization is strategically cut off at the knees if the correct amount of focus on long-term direct isn’t inserted at the appropriate times.

Think about whether everyone that works in your company:

– Understands where the company is going and why
– Is acting in support of the strategy and plan
– Stays focused on what you’re trying to create or change all year long

So why do we want to systemize planning rather than letting everyone do their own thing? It’s not about monochrome-style management. It’s about how to consistently work a plan all year long. It will make planning less of a new year’s resolution and more of a system of management. A free-for-all of management practice is not fertile ground for integration, alignment, consistency, branding or success. By increasing consistency with a few basic standards, you will more often see the strategy make the trip from the business plan down to the personal performance plan level.

The benefits of this type of approach include:

Helps people connect to something greater than tactics – creating a sense of purpose
Reduces the amount of work required to develop quality direction
Helps develop the kind of direction that is useful all year long
Ensures that teams stay focused on their plan all year long
Aligns the work that every division, team and individual does to the strategy of the organization
Ensures every team is provided with the most current view of the business environment, resulting from the collective best thinking of the organization