It is really easy to get caught up in the process of creating strategy and organising information into a comprehensive (no one can argue with my logic), type of document. But one of the reasons strategies fail is that they are too prescriptive, too detailed, far too inaccessible and totally lacking in emotional inspiration!
A strategy that fails to ignite a passion in others will never get the momentum it needs to see it through to realisation.
A strategy is not a document, it is a call to action...
It is a culmination of understanding about an organisations current position and its future vision and crucially how to get from one to the other! So, if you are creating a strategy here are just a few points to whet your appetite....
Think Challenge & Opportunity!
What problems are you trying to address, what opportunities do you need to take advantage of? Who are your competitors, partners, customers (now and in the future), and who will support you or try to discredit you? How are all these different groups likely to behave? What motivates them? What do you need to do to be ready for this?
Think Context and future focus.
What are the aspirations and strategic intent of the industry, the country, trading partners and customers? How are people interacting with you, how will this change? What technological, demographic, political, economic, legislative, social and global changes will impact on how you do business? How will these continue to change going forward? How do these changes affect your business strategy, marketing strategy, people strategy, technology strategy and so on?
Think Mind Set.
What changes do you need in how people currently think in order for your new strategy to be successful? How are they currently thinking and how is that affecting where you want to get to (either positively or negatively)? What different behaviours do you want to see? What culture change do you require to deliver the future strategy? How can you encourage and embed these changes?
Don't develop your strategy in a vacuum. Not only will you not gain buy in, but you will alienate the very people whose commitment you need. Treat engagement as an iterative process from conception through to realisation. Ensure you engage with all levels of the organisation and walk in the shoes of your people. How will what you propose play out across your organisation, what nuance might you need to sell the strategy Into different areas of your business and to those outside your business who you interact with and impact?
Obtain data to drive strategic understanding and interpret it in the context of where the organisation needs to get to. Understand where the organisations pinch points are now and where they are likely to be in the journey to the future vision. This means understanding future strategies for headcount, location, new products, new markets and consumer demand. Ensure you put data collection in place that will give you the information you need for the future (as opposed to collecting what has always been collected).
And most important - think Banksy.
Bottom line - most people will not read a strategy, they will scan a poster, the first paragraph of an email (if you are lucky), absorb the first couple of sentences of a conversation and then tune out if what they hear has no interest.
Banksy very visually and quickly communicates a message.
How can you do that for your strategy and importantly where will you do that? People look for things to read whilst they are boiling a kettle, travel in a lift, wait for their turn at a water cooler and so on. That is your time frame for drawing them in to your strategy, so how can you meet this challenge?