What makes a good strategy?
Most strategies fail because they don’t make tough choices between priorities and leave people confused.
1. Good strategies understand:
- We’re finite beings with limited knowledge and independent wills. That’s not a bad thing but it causes dilution. A strategy needs focus.
- Our environment is unpredictable and uncertain, which means we can’t try to plan too far ahead. Of course we need to try to look into the future and create a framework to bring everything together, but we need to be realistic.
2. A strategy needs a clear direction. It’s about trying to find the sweet spot between what we should, could and can do; i.e. our aims versus our opportunities, versus our capabilities.
3. It must clarify intent.
4. And that intend needs to be able to cascade throughout the organisation, and be translated into different tasks and activities.
5. A strategy should correspond to the existing organisational structure, considering a number of questions:
- Can we identify organisational entities which can be made accountable for executing it?
- Do we have appropriate and capable leadership?
- Is there enough (but not too much!) hierarchy?
Ultimately, when defining a strategy, we are asking ourselves three questions:
- Where have we been?
- Where are we going?
- How are we going to get there?
What do you think? Is there anything else we need to consider to make a good strategy? Comment below!
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