In this article, Mark Hess outlines the principles of strategy, including what makes a strategy a good strategy.
In broad strokes, strategy is decision making—but not in the way one might think. The most important part of your strategy is deciding what you’re not going to do.
What is Strategy?
Strategy, simply stated, is how you get from Point A (where you are now) to Point B (where you want to be). You want your organization to grow from $100M to $500M. That requires decisions on which customers to serve (and not serve), what products/services to sell, where to focus the company’s resources and what capabilities you need on your team. It might seem simple to read here in black and white but in practice, it’s not simple; in reality, strategy requires clear and objective data, and often, help from someone outside the business to assess the current situation. Think of it as you would self-diagnosis when you’re not feeling well: sometimes you know what to do and you heal swiftly, but sometimes, when the situation is serious, it’s best to call a doctor—an expert trained to assess, diagnose, and solve the problem.
The same reason you’d trust a doctor to diagnose an illness is the same reason you should trust a consultant to craft your strategy. Consultants make decisions based on clear vision, on sound data, and with no agenda in mind other than helping you get from Point A to Point B. Consultants know what constitutes good strategy and, maybe more importantly, we know how to implement what we know so you can reach your goals.
Strategy requires discipline. It requires external perspective. All too often the clients we work with work in an echo chamber: the opinions heard are the opinions of the team, without a voice from the outside. Let me give you an example: a former client is a boat manufacturer that sells thru a dealer network. The primary information flowing back to the manufacturer came from the dealer network, not the end customer. The information, while important was filtered through the dealer network, which, inevitably, delivers the information that is most important and beneficial to the dealer network, not the end user. The manufacturer thought they had a complete picture of what the customer wanted, but it was only part of the full picture.
Key points include:
- Questioning conventional wisdom
- Long-term objectives
- Growing pains
Read the full article, The Principles of Strategy, on LinkedIn.