Monday, July 11, 2011

Want to be nicknamed Strategy Guru?


Do you know how strategy and tactics differ? How many times have you heard someone talk about strategy without providing any substance? According to business expert Erika Andersen, “When people say apple or sunlight, there’s generally a shared definition. But people have no common definition for strategy.” In her book, Being Strategic: Plan for Success, Out-Think Your Competitors, Stay Ahead of Change, Andersen explains the differences between discussing strategy, defining strategy, and actually being strategic – so your business benefits.

The core of strategy, according to Andersen, is a journey with four parts.
[1] What Is? – an exploration of the current situation and how it came to be
[2] What’s the Hope? – The hoped-for future: clearly defined, realistic, and aspirational
[3] What’s in the Way? – an understanding of what’s blocking movement from “what is” to “hoped-for future”
[4] What’s the Path? – the plan to overcome obstacles and achieve hoped-for future

Perhaps the reason that so many people don’t like discussing or working on strategies is because they don’t like to focus on what isn’t working. But isn’t success better than lack of success? By focusing on the four-part journey described by Andersen, the process for creating strategies and tactics is easy. At the end of every chapter, Andersen provides worksheets to analyze your individual business situations and put her theories into practice. But let’s never forget the importance of collaboration with other employees, alignment with other business units, and adherence to project budgets and timing.

Here’s a refresher for key business success terms:
* Mission: why we exist, our unique purpose as an organization
* Vision: what we would look like if we were more fully achieving that purpose: our hoped-for future as a company, fulfilling our mission
* Obstacles: what might make it difficult for us to be the company we envision, achieving our purpose
* Strategy: core directional choices toward becoming the company we envision
* Tactics: specific actions that will best implement those strategies

If you want to be nicknamed the “Strategy Guru” in your office, then learn these easy-to-follow steps for strategic planning and action:
[1] Be clear about the problem you’re trying to solve
[2] Figure out where you’re starting from
[3] Imagine your “castle on the hill” – your ultimate goal
[4] Identify the “trolls under the bridge” – the obstacles in your path
[5] Outline the path to the “castle” – your core strategies and the tactics for implementing the strategies
[6] Re-evaluate your strategy and tactics as conditions change

Visit Erika’s website:

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Visit Erika’s company, Proteus-International:

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