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’.
- Keep it simple, stupid. A simple solution is easier to understand, easier to explain and (90% of the time) easier to deliver.
- Be bold. Don’t be afraid and be willing to use explosives where necessary.
- 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.
- Acknowledge the moose on the table. Challenge your assumptions and conventional wisdoms. You need to be prepared to tell it straight.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.