Short Strategy Statements are Powerful

Yesterday’s blog ended by defining strategy as

  • “A beacon
  • that specifies a goal,
  • a time frame for achieving that goal,
  • the context in which the the goal will be reached,
  • and the company’s unique approach that guarantees its success.”

Let’s dissect this further.

First, note that the word “goal” is singular. Strategy is designed to focus the entire organization around a single focus. Do one thing and do it exceedingly well. Sharply defined strategy cuts like a well-honed knife; a strategy with multiple goals cuts like a marshmallow.

Stating a time frame is vital. It provides impetus and motivation. Combined with a clearly stated goal, the time frame becomes the first of the key performance indicators that is necessary to ensure the successful implementation of the strategy.

The context describes the specific competitive arena in which the company will operate. Be crystal clear on this. Don’t just say “We’re going to grow to a 10 restaurant chain by 2012″. Say “We’re going to grow to a chain of 10 family-oriented, sit-down, full-service, Italian restaurants in southern Alberta by 2012″.

The most important part of strategy is defining what makes you different from your competitors. Why would somebody choose to eat in your Italian restaurant rather than the one next door? Is it the food? The locations? The physical design? The live Italian music? It must be unique and it must be something that your competitors can’t replicate.

Finally, strategy is a beacon. Once a strategy has been created it needs to be simply stated and widely distributed within your company in order to achieve its full potential. One of the best ways of doing this is to reduce your strategy to a single sentence.

Which is what we’ll discuss next time.