What the F*@%! is strategy and why do we need it?
A couple of years ago, I went to an event titled “What the f*@%! is strategy?” – a space for strategists to discuss what strategy is. There was no definitive answer. A couple of people even suggested that in a world of rapid technological change, the idea of having a strategy is obsolete. Which, in my opinion, is nonsense. In this fast-paced world, strategy is more important than ever.
So what is strategy?
Not to be confused with a vision, a plan or (from reading bad strategies) a collection of ideas with no thought as to their implementation. Strategy is how you win. It defines how you move forward in the medium to long term. It takes an ambitious vision and translates it into a clear direction and set of coherent actions that give you the advantage.
We like this definition because it breaks down the key elements of a strategy
- The VISION (the ambition that takes you way beyond the day to day tactics)
- The DIRECTION (to govern why and how you move forward)
- The ACTIONS (so that you make it happen – this quote sums it up perfectly)
Strategy always starts with the problem you need to solve. And a clear definition of that problem is really important otherwise your strategy will be unfocused, or fail to address your key issues. And if that’s the case, you won’t win.
And why do we need it?
Based on the discussion in our Strategy Mastermind group, no matter what it’s for (your business, your team, your function or even your personal life) – there are 3 big reasons for having a strategy.
1. It helps you win.
If you correctly diagnose the problem, developing a strategy gives you clarity on what you need to do differently to win. Whatever this means to you. It’s about identifying the advantages that you have and using them to offset any weaknesses.
2. It keeps you accountable
Obviously this won’t work, if you put your strategy away in a drawer and never look at it again, but a strategy is something that everyone involved signs up to and works together to deliver – making you all more accountable (even if it’s just you alone).
3. It gives you focus
A strategy should contain clear priorities that help you decide what you should do – and more importantly what you shouldn’t do.
At Brand by Me, we love to win. We believe in creating win-win-wins. And this starts with our strategy. So we’ll keep you posted, and if you’re interested, do follow our new Twitter and Instagram channels.