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Making Strategy Stick

Strategy sessions sometimes feel like a dime a dozen.

Does anything really change from strategic planning?

If we are honest with ourselves, some days it doesn't feel like change is happening.

By understanding what each step of future planning looks like, strategic planning can produce results. Brainstorming and visioning meetings do not substitute for critical strategic-thinking about the future.

When working through strategic direction setting, it’s important to ask good questions.

  • What impact do we want to make?

  • What does success look like if we make that impact?

  • What does it take to achieve that success?

  • And the question that will challenge any group. How does our organization evolve to meet this moment of future success?

Risk. Opportunity. Growth.

Strategy is simple.

Strategy is a bunch of decisions that, when strung together, meets the risk, opportunity, or growth facing your organization.

In the near term – 12 to 24 months – this looks like tactics. You are looking for tweaks and process improvements. This might be a new but adjacent target market. It might be a tweaked product offering. You can take action by defining your priorities, putting resources to them, and engaging the teams who can get the job done.

Critical, Strategic-Thinking.

What is not simple is the work you have to put into strategic, critical thinking.

In the long term – 5 to 10 years – this is strategy aimed at your vision of the future. Your 3 to 5 year plan takes into account the tactics of your short-term plans and aligns the organization for the vision of your long-term plan. All of the tactical, near-term work must come together to establish an organization primed for a bigger goal.

Where are we going in the next 3 to 5 years to get ready for our vision in the next 5 to 10 years?

Your teams are ready to run hard under your excellent leadership. What do you want them running after?

Pursuing a Vision.

At 5 to10 years out, you are focused on your industry and it’s rapidly changing environment. The window of data grows really dim at this point. This is where your best bets are placed. What new technology, market forces, regulations, and customer trends are unfolding that dictate the terms of your future? Take aim knowing that tomorrow brings new information and it will help fill the gaps of the unknown of today.

Create an agile team filled with problem-solving critical thinkers.

The key to this type of strategy setting is an agile team primed for innovation and flexible problem-solving. Keeping the core questions in front of your strategy process unlocks innovate mindsets for your team.

What can we do to win in the short term while positioning our company for our long term goals?

This is critical strategic-thinking in action.


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