The hardest part of strategy is not coming up with ideas. That’s easy, everyone can do it. No, the hardest part is choosing not to do something. The hardest part is prioritizing.

Every time you prioritize, you’re saying ‘no’ to a good idea. You are potentially missing out on more customers, revenues and profits. That’s not easy.

But, as the adage goes, “if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” As a result, you simply end up in a situation where leaders can’t lead, managers can’t deliver and front-line teams become confused, fatigued and dejected.

A CEO once proudly told me that he had established 27 priorities for his business. Unfortunately, he struggled to name more than 6 or 7 of them. If the CEO can’t list the company’s priorities, what chance does the rest of the organisation have?

Compare the approach of that CEO to Bob Iger of Disney, who, when he took over as CEO in 2005, set out just three strategic priorities for the business: (1) Develop creative content; (2) Broaden international reach; and (3) Distribute directly to consumers. These priorities are clear, focused and actionable and formed the basis of a decade of unparalleled growth for the business.

When it comes to setting strategic objectives and priorities, 3 not 27 is the magic number. What are the 3 priorities that would transform the performance of your organization?

Off The Record: The Magic Number by De La Soul

Everybody wants to be a DJ

Everybody wants to be an MC

But being speakers are the best

And you don’t have to guess

De La Soul posse consists of three

And that’s the magic number

Getting Your Innovation Strategy Right

Business leaders are constantly exhorted to innovate. But what kind of innovation should managers pursue? The Innovation Strategy Matrix helps you to answer that question and get your innovation strategy right.