“Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.” Michael Porter
Many leaders want to keep their options open. Because they want to avoid accountability. Keeping one’s options open is not prudent leadership, it is an indication of lack of confidence in the decision-making processes. Keeping your options open means more resource commitment, trial and error, and limited focus.
It is not easy to win when you do so many things at the same time. However, do not confuse choice with identifying a specific sector or business and going a mile deep into the business or industry.
Figure 1: Challenges, options, and possibilities flow
To document an organic strategy, start by defining the current strategic problem or challenge.
Remember, any institution or entity or individual needs a strategy when two things are present: either there is an opportunity that needs to be tapped into and exploited OR there is a strategic problem or challenge that needs solving – amid resource constraints. Brilliant leaders can use scarce resources more efficiently and effectively than others to achieve more.
If there was no death to humanity, there would be no need for medical care, a balanced diet, and good living. If everything a person needs to live a good life were available for free in abundance, there would be no need to plan for personal career success.
During strategic planning sessions, we spend a lot of time with leaders trying to define the biggest strategic challenge or opportunity. However, keep in mind that no one can tap into any opportunity without first fixing any problem. For this reason, strategic planning is not complete without a thorough analysis of the current conditions and impediments to current and future growth. Therefore, a good strategy has both short term and long-term game. The short term focuses on fixing short term challenges. And the workplan priorities address that. The long-term game focus is about winning in the future – 5-20 years. And this by far focuses on exploring the opportunities to be tapped into and identifying the capabilities needed to win.
To be continued in part 2.