Three Things Strategy Isn’t

There are many definitions of what strategy is, yet most people find the notion of strategy confusing. Rather than adding to the confusion about strategy, we’ll look at the question from another angle. Here are three things strategy isn’t. These observations come from participating in strategy development sessions and conversations within dozens of organizations. During this time, these tenants have rung true:

  1. Strategy isn’t unnecessarily complex – For some, strategy is like climbing a ladder of abstraction where you start with something concrete, but by the time you’ve settled on a strategy, it is more theoretical than practical. This separation of strategy from the physical, the rational, or the concrete makes it difficult to understand. In my mind, a great strategy is a simple strategy – one that is easy to understand and makes you think, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
  2. Strategy isn’t jargon – Related to the notion of complexity above, strategy isn’t about using big, or made up words, phrases and concepts. Strategy takes language we all understand and weaves it into a valuable business building plan.
  3. Strategy isn’t unrealistic – At the end of the day, in order for strategy to work, it needs to be realistic. The best strategies are those that see the light of day and are able to be implemented.

At the end of the day, I guess innovation can come from making something as illusive as strategy tangible by making it simple, using understandable language, and ensuring it is executable. How innovative!

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