Strategy Demystified

The term strategy is widely used and applied to many processes and situations in which are not strategy. The concept of strategy is misused in many circumstances and not truly understood. Most people look like a deer in the headlights when “Strategy” is mentioned. The following is a quick and concise guide to understanding “Strategy”. The thought leader behind the following is Richard P. Rumelt and his book is “Good Strategy – Bad Strategy” and I highly recommended it.

“A good strategy honestly acknowledges the challenges being faced and provides an approach to overcoming them….Strategy selects the path, identifying how, why, and where leadership and determination are to be applied” – Richard P. Rumelt

There are three (3) elements of strategy:

  1. Diagnosing the challenge
  2. Guiding the policy
  3. Taking reasoned action
  • First you have to “define the challenge” in order to create a strategy.
  • The strategy has to be practical and has to address the critical issues instead of ignoring them.

Goals are not strategies – This is a common mistake so make sure you understand the difference.

Strategy defines the framework for taking action to meet goals” –Keith Lawrence Miller

Defining a strong strategy

  1. A strong strategy stands a strong chance of accomplishing its mission.
  2. A strong strategy builds strength through its design.
  3. A strong strategy applies strengths to the most promising opportunity.
  4. A strong strategy allows for mission pivots or timely adjustments to deal with new conflicting information.
  5. When creating a strategy, you always need to consider the competition.

Questions to Create a Strong Strategy

  1. What are the competitions strengths and weaknesses?
  2. What are our strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Where are the leverage points?
  4. Where are the opportunities?
  5. What are the risks involved?
  6. How can we put pressure on the competition to take away their focus from their strengths?
  7. What is the hidden power of the situation that neither side has identified?

“Leadership needs more than charisma and vision – Leadership needs a solid strategy” – Richard P. Rumelt and Keith Lawrence Miller (combined)

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Keith Miller

Keith Lawrence Miller, Organizational Psychologist, Board Certified Coach (BCC), Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC), with subject matter expertise in executive career & leadership coaching and management consulting supported by a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.

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