Dear all,

a happy and – most of all – healthy new year to you all!

Barely back at work and already in the middle of the Maelstrom again? Loads of to-dos – without obvious priorities?

Maybe it’s time for a more strategic approach. Per Harvard’s strategy guru Michael Porter “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

Strategy is usually associated with upper management and expensive consulting firms. However, every function, team, or product should follow a strategy to reduce wasteful activities and increase its business impact.

If there are no directives from “above”, you should develop your own strategy. (We often find the responsible management to be very pleased when presented with it after the fact).

Strategy development is about limiting options by way of informed choices. According to Roger Martin, one of the most influential strategy thinkers of our time, strategies simply have to answer two questions:

  • Where do we want to play?
  • How do we want to win?

Developing and implementing a strategy is not rocket science and fundamentally takes three steps:

  • Researching and understanding your environment and your capabilities
  • Developing strategic options and making choices
  • Implementing the choices, measuring impact, and adapting

As the last step already indicates: in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, strategy has to be agile. „No matter how good today’s strategy is, you must always keep reinventing it.” (Prof. Costas Markides, London Business School).

While strategy development is not a paint-by-numbers exercise, there are many proven tools for every phase or step. (We have created a number of them as canvases and will continue to post them here over the next few weeks.)

To get you started, I have chosen three reads that provide more context:

6 Steps to Make Your Strategic Plan Really Strategic –

by Graham Kenny. A simple strategy process model. Easy to follow. Can be very powerful when combined with OKRs.
Click to view!

Agile Strategy | Building adaptability into your organization’s DNA –

by Larry Cooper & Dan Murphy. Great analysis and thoughts about changes required for more strategic agility. Plus a proposal for an agile strategy process.
Click to view!

The Product Strategy Cycle –

by Roman Pichler. A robust integrated and iterative model for product strategy
Click to view!

If you want to know how the rest of the world is doing with respect to strategies and their implementation – here are the results from strategy software company Cascade’s 2020 survey.
I am convinced you can do better!

Have a great rest of the weekend,

PS: „…it’s only by saying NO that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.“ (Steve Jobs)

PPS: We have created a two-day workshop format for developing the cornerstones of a strategy for departments or teams. Drop us a line if you are interested.