WHAT IS STRATEGY?
The word "strategy" is one that is thrown around liberally to mean a number of things to different people. Some use it when they are simply sharing an idea or concept. Others refer to tactical execution as if this, by itself, is strategy. While the following definition is a mouthful, I believe it encompasses the elements of strategy in a way we can grab hold of it and use it effectively...
Strategy: An overarching approach to ongoing success, taking into account an individual’s or organization’s collective values, historical fact, current reality/perception, and future possibilities to plan, execute, measure, and redirect action.
Regardless of one’s belief as to the core nature of strategy, where strategy leaves off and tactics kick in, or other points of view, one thing is certain: a strategy is only as good as its ability to deliver a desired outcome.
To this end, The Strategy Code encompasses the process of
Only as a cohesive whole can the process surrounding strategy creation and execution deliver maximum effect.
THE 7 BUILDING BLOCKS
Following are the seven elements that make up The Strategy Code. Of course, there are many more details than are shared in this brief overview, but this will give you an idea of how this approach to strategy creation and execution will ensure better results than less organized and poorly integrated approaches.
We begin by discovering our core desired outcome, then mold our purpose and vision to reside behind and beyond that desired outcome--creating a solid foundation for the journey. We then devise the goals that will lead us to that desired outcome.
With our objective clearly fleshed out, we complete the research necessary to assure we are acting on a valid view of reality. We then engage in forecasting and assessing our resources to ensure sustainability of our pursuit--both in its formative stage, and long-term after its execution.
3. Competitive Advantage
Taking in a holistic view of our efforts so far, we're able to identify our competitive advantage--our "secret sauce" that will not be readily duplicable by would-be competitors.
Whether communicating with team members, decision-makers, allies, prospective clients, or any other parties, we must be able to articulate our value and story. Messaging takes on many forms in the myriad stages of strategy formulation and execution and is key to the ultimate realization of the desired outcome.
5. Tactics & Maneuvers
While many separate strategy and tactics as two, supporting but subsequent elements in planning and execution, I see tactics as an element of execution under the strategy umbrella. This is where the orchestration plan is developed. Staging takes place. Timing is carefully planned. Then we leave the realm of planning--which includes everything we have done to this point--and enter into execution mode.
6. Measurement & Assessment
As we execute our plan, we capture data, manage it in a usable way, and mine it for insights. Consistency of measurement and assessment is key to success. As we assess our effectiveness in execution (are we heading toward our desired outcome per our orchestration plan?), we often encounter found opportunities--realities that appear along the path that could not have been realized prior to embarking on the journey.
The ability to be nimble in adjusting and pivoting is a hallmark of the most successful endeavors. As we review the data from our measurement and assessment activities, we are able to assure we are still in line with our desired outcome. If we are not--or our objective has altered due to found opportunities--we are able to tweak the elements previously put in place as necessary to redirect and achieve success.