The word “strategy” originated from the Greek word “strategia” meaning “art of troop leader; office of general, command, generalship” and is defined as a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. Strategy is all about determining the “how”. How an organization is going to get where it wants to go and what tactics will be used to accomplish objectives.
“Building a strategy to achieve objectives is paramount to any successful project. There must be a purposeful strategy in place that assumes flexibility and versatility while staying the course to end goal.”
An organizations strategy is more than a document that gets written and filed away in a desk. Strategy should inform structure, and how an organization goes about what they do. It should be the pillar against which priorities, actions and performance is assessed. In this week’s blog post we are looking at key attributes that contribute to a successful strategy.
A plan cannot be taken seriously unless it can be clearly articulated and steps are properly outlined. This does not mean only the people within an organization should understand it, everybody should be able to. James Chalmers likes to use a test called the “3rd party ask” to identify whether a strategy is clear or not.
“If I can share our game plan with a 3rd party who is not privy to the background or specifics of the project, they should be able to identify our strategy and tactics. This is important for many reasons. The single biggest reason is that quite often the execution or activation is done by individuals or groups that were not part of the development process. We do however need everyone involved to understand the “How” – Tactics, the “What” – Objectives, and the “Why” – our ultimate Goal.”
Preparation and Adaptability
Being prepared for the unexpected means planning for scenarios that you can visualize and those that you never thought about. Adaptability is all about being able to adjust to new conditions. As we know, if there is one constant in business – it is change. This means that strategies must be adaptable and flexible, so they can respond to changes in both internal and external environments. An organization must be prepared to adjust delivery and have more than just a “Plan A” in place. We know what you are thinking, it is all good and well talking about the unexpected – but what do you do to prepare for it? The best way to prepare for it is to simply expect that it will happen. When it comes around – get ready to take advantage of it and strike.
Most of us have heard of the acronym KISS – “keep it simple, stupid” noted by the U.S Navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. Keeping things simple is not only important in the strategize phase but it is necessary in all steps of a methodology. A clear and identifiable strategy by nature will be simple and free of clutter or noise. When a strategy is simple, it can be more effectively and efficiently pivoted when both the expected and unexpected arises.
Developing a successful strategy in today’s ever changing eco-system can seem like a daunting task. Ensuring that a strategy is clear, preparing and adjusting delivery and keeping everything as simple as possible will increase the odds of implementing a winning strategy. In doing so, take the time to celebrate the wins, learn from the losses and move forward more knowledgeable than before.