Have you ever wondered what strategy leaders think about strategy? A while ago I ran a strategy director’s workshop. Our attendees were from leading companies including Alliance Boots, Carillionm BAe Systems and Dunelm. As part of our work together we identified some shared best practices – here are the Top 9.
- Keep It Simple, Stupid. A simple solution is easier to understand, easier to explain and easier to deliver (90% of the time); Instead of pages of analysis, ask “What are the five bullet points?”
- Be bold, and don’t be afraid to use explosives where necessary. Don’t be incremental – sometimes you need to make waves
- A good strategist is a good story-teller. Need to tell a compelling story over and over again; Requires vision, passion, clarity and great examples
- Acknowledge the moose on the table. Challenge assumptions and conventional wisdoms; You need to be prepared to tell it straight
- Definition of strategy: ‘Informed choice, timely action’. Strategy is about choices and trade-offs – these require useful data, not ungrounded opinions; Action is the essence of good strategy; the timing of action is crucial
- Focus. You can only be successful if you focus on a few (no more than three) key areas of business; Dabbling in too many things will drive failure.
- Own the growth agenda. The strategist should own the growth agenda over the next 2-5 years; Operators own the agenda over the next 12-24 months – nobody is interested beyond 5 years; Growth is essential to strategy – a rising tide floats all boats – and can hide a multitude of sins
- Ideas are our currency – spend freely Be a big spender in giving your ideas away; Measure your success by other people presenting back to you your ideas as their own
- Avoid getting caught up in the planning process. It’s not where strategy tends to get developed – it’s more about control; Operating managers simply do not like it or the people who drive it
Which of these best practices could transform your strategy and your business growth?
© Stuart Cross 2016. All rights reserved