For the past couple of months I’ve been posting strategy insights on Twitter. You can follow me at

Just in case you’ve missed them, here are the first 50 insights:

  1. Many companies fail because they’re great, not bad, at what they do – it’s just no longer valued, eg Kodak.
  2. Don’t let planning kill strategy. Focus on the what, not the how.
  3. Raise the bar and focus on your real priorities. What 3 things will really drive your long-term performance?
  4. Innovation is more valuable than problem solving. How do you split your time and effort?
  5. Don’t be mindlessly customer led. Innovation means that you must lead not follow the customer.
  6. Nothing fails like success. Even the best strategies erode, so you need to refresh it constantly.
  7. The #1 reason for top entrepreneurs’ success is the ability to ‘experiment fearlessly’. How fearless are you?
  8. Strategic success happens when you’re the first to profitably exploit a change in your external environment.
  9. The essence of great strategy = informed choice + timely action.
  10. Separate objectives from tactics. Be fixed on the vision, but flexible on the route.
  11. Your ability to deliver your strategy is directly proportional to the quality of your relationships.
  12. Who owns your growth agenda for the next 2-5 years? If no one, then you’ll always have incremental plans.
  13. Strategy is as much about what you’re not as it is about what you are. Are you clear what’s off-strategy?
  14. Avoid developing strategy within your annual planning process. It only leads to incremental change.
  15. A great strategic vision is specific, focused on outcomes, and gives a sense of how it will be made real.
  16. The top 3 threats to ongoing success? Arrogance, defensiveness and inertia. Focus on the future, not the past.
  17. If you’re not leading, you’re not succeeding. In what ways is your business a market leader?
  18. Successful strategies rely on serendipity as much as analysis. In what ways are you open to opportunity?
  19. A great strategy process starts with these two words: “What if…..”
  20. The 3 characteristics of sustainable business success: distinctiveness, operating excellence and agility.
  21. Which of these do you lead on – Best Product, Low Cost, Most Convenient, Best Service or Bespoke Solutions?
  22. The secret of great strategy is action. Only when you are doing stuff can you learn, grow and succeed.
  23. It’s better to be great in a poor market, than poor in a great market. Focus on your advantages.
  24. Ideas are the currency of strategy. Be a big spender in giving your ideas away to others in your business.
  25. When it comes to strategy, disruption is mandatory. Be bold. Sometimes you need a little dynamite.
  26. Having an effective organisation is more important than a great strategy. How capable is your organisation?
  27. The best strategies tend to be pretty simple. A simple solution is easier to understand, explain and deliver.
  28. Strategic success is far more about dogged, persistent action than it is about brilliant thinking.
  29. Failure is inevitable in any new venture. The secret is to fail quicker and cheaper than the other guy.
  30. A good strategist is a good storyteller. You need to tell a great story over and over again.
  31. Expect to communicate your strategy 6,000 times: 3 years x 200 working days per year x 10 meetings per day.
  32. Many busy, successful executives resent the time they spend on strategy. Find ways to engage, not bore them.
  33. Strategy is about choices and trade-offs. These require useful data, not ungrounded opinions.
  34. You can only succeed if you focus on a few – say 3 – key areas of the business. Dabbling drives failure.
  35. You must face into the real issues. Challenge assumptions and conventional wisdoms, and tell it straight.
  36. Always develop more than one possible solution. Robust alternatives give you clearer choices and trade-offs.
  37. Avoid long strategy reports. Instead of pages of analysis ask, “What are the five key issues we need to focus on?”
  38. Profitable growth is the benchmark of strategy. Don’t just fix current problems; deliver new growth.
  39. You must bring your “high level” strategy down to “ground level”. What specifically do you want to achieve?
  40. The 3 characteristics of great strategic leaders: passion, rigour and persistence.
  41. It’s fine to use opinions to develop strategy, but be rigorous in testing that they’re valid.
  42. Don’t fear competition. You need competition to create a market. Even Apple needs competitors to reference against.
  43. Shop your business. What does it feel like to be a customer of yours? What frustrations do you have?
  44. Don’t just ask customers, observe them. Customers are poor predictors of their own future behaviour.
  45. Ask different work groups to develop their ideal strategy for your business. What ideas do you get from new starters, retirees or suppliers?
  46. Discuss companies you admire in other sectors. What excites you about them, and how could you translate their benefits for your business?
  47. What will happen if you carry on with your current strategy? In the next 5 years, 2 years, 6 months?
  48. What are your internal barriers to growth? The biggest one is fear, masquerading as intolerance, of failure.
  49. Be prepared to cannibalise your sales. If you don’t do it your competitors will. Look at Gillette for inspiration.
  50. Invest in strategies, not initiatives. Ryanair could profitably add first class seats, but it ruins the strategy.

© Stuart Cross 2010. All rights reserved.