Ten Strategy Thought Starters

Strategy definition: Creating distinctive, sustainable competitive advantage. Not difficult to articulate but for many organisations difficult to do well.


Distinctive means being discriminatory, rejecting options, not doing everything, focus, focus, focus .
All things being equal culture defeats strategy because strategy is about change.
Revolutionary goals are achieved through evolutionary steps, both revolution and evolution are required in delivering a kick-ass strategy.
Strategy is not a synonym for growth. Some strategies are about contraction, profit not sales, lateral moves. Sometimes in difficult terrain is it necessary to go tactically south to go strategically north.
Strategy is not about operational improvement. If you need to improve margins, cost/income ratios etc. do it. That’s price of admission, strategy is in addition.
Strategy won’t work without accountability, scaled to the relevant role. Middle/front-line managers are the catalysts for strategic delivery, they need to be mobilised through effective engagement.
Strategy is about time. Look far enough into the future, but make sure it always stays connected to today. Strategic time horizons are shortening, even for the most capital intensive plans.
If you must have dedicated strategy departments, make them fixed term appointments, regularly convert the roles into executional ones. Give them big bonuses not for devising the strategy, but for delivering it.
Never have a specialist board director responsible for strategy. The CEO or FD are much better candidates for strategy management, the whole board should have relevant parts of the strategy (devising and implementation) written into their individual KPIs.
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