Thinking strategically is difficult. Really difficult. You might think that whatever you are doing in your day job is difficult, but that’s peanuts to strategy.
Like any big, difficult problem, it is helpful to try to break it down into smaller, less scary problems.
We approach strategy development in three phases. Whether it is “big” strategy (developing a view of the future of the company or new product inception, for example), or “small” strategy (often manifested as something like a “quarterly management review”, “sales meeting” or “looking at our ALM”), these phases can be a useful way of focusing on the things that are strategically important.
- Reflection – an honest appraisal of where you are
- Ambition – an honest agreement about where you want to be
- Action – a programme of work to get from here to there
There’s a description of the kinds of activities that you might perform in each phase over on our main site, and we’ll look at some real-life examples in future posts. Essentially, though, you use this structure to frame both your strategic inception and review processes. The important thing is to focus ruthlessly on the essentials of each phase, and not allow yourself to be drawn into discussions about future phases.