Twice a year I host a Strategy Directors’ Forum, where strategy directors from some of the UK’s leading companies have a roundtable discussion on a wide range of topics. Last year, at our first session, the participants agreed some ‘golden rules’ for strategy development, which they called their ‘home truths’.

  1. Keep it simple, stupid. A simple solution is easier to understand, easier to explain and (90% of the time) easier to deliver.
  2. Be bold. Don’t be afraid and be willing to use explosives where necessary.
  3. A good strategist is a good storyteller. You need to tell a compelling story over and over again. This requires vision, passion, clarity and metaphor.
  4. Acknowledge the moose on the table. Challenge your assumptions and conventional wisdoms. You need to be prepared to tell it straight.
  5. Strategy = informed choice + timely action. Strategy is about choices and trade-offs, which require useful data rather than ungrounded opinions. Action is the essence of good strategy and the timing of action is crucial.
  6. Focus. You can only be successful is you focus on a few key areas of the business (probably not more than three). Dabbling in too many things will drive failure.
  7. Ideas are the currency of strategy – spend freely. Be a big spender and share your ideas. Measure your success by the number of other people presenting back to you your ideas as their own.
  8. Avoid getting strategy confused with planning. Strategy doesn’t get developed in a planning process, which is more about control.

Which of these home truths could you use in your organisation to improve its performance?

© Stuart Cross 2009. All rights reserved.