What is strategy? Everyone says you should have to have one, but what is it? Strategy is all about choices. You are choosing to do some things and not others so that you succeed at moving towards what you want. The idea is to make the right choices to increase your chances of having a winning strategy.
Roger Martin clarifies five choices you need to make to develop a winning strategy.
1.What will be your winning aspiration?
Decide what you want. What you are trying to accomplish?
2. Where will you play?
Who is your target market? What is your product /service?
3. How are you going to win?
What is your unique selling point? How are you different/better from your competitors?
4. Have you got what you need?
Do you need more skills, create/develop/improve your product/service? What capabilities do you need?
5. How is it going to be organised?
What systems are required for you to achieve success?
Now here is the tricky part – there is no formula and you can’t just make these things up or copy them from someone else. You are creating something new. It is critical you do your research. Look at your competition and consider the gaps in the market. You need to not only look at what is currently available but also imagine what else could be great. Strategic planning is about setting your priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the business’s direction in response to a changing environment.
Don’t just lock yourself in a room with an aim to write up your strategy. Get out, see what is available, listen to customers, test ideas, keep learning. Recognise that the decisions you make today will affect your business tomorrow. Also keep in mind that there are no guarantees – strategy is about making choices to give you a better chance at success.