Ever sat through a strategic planning session that was facilitated by an inept facilitator or, worse, a CEO who wasn’t sure what strategy was? Or even worse than that, the “strategic plan” was to drag out the old plan from the previous year, dust it off, make a few cosmetic changes, and call it good? These are all ways NOT to create a great strategy. Unfortunately, all of these are done more often than anyone will admit, and the result is always the same: companies miss the boat on creating a great strategy that people can actually get excited about.
This book will show you exactly what NOT to do. Twenty-four “strategies” that will not work, no matter how hard you click your heels together and wish to be transported back to a time when someone else was building your strategy. One of the biggest challenges to creating a great strategy is that a lot of leaders don’t even know what a strategy is. They confuse it with a list of goals that need to be accomplished. Goals are good—they are even better when in service of a great strategy.
A strategy is a way to achieve something; it is a particular path you choose to go down to accomplish something that you or your organization wants to achieve. Say you want to make a cake; there are multiple ways to do it. When you decide to go forward, you will pick a certain strategy to make that cake based on any number of factors. There will be various tasks and goals associated with those factors, and if you’re taking your cake to a bake sale, everyone will have used a different “strategy” to get their cake to market. Some will taste great! Some will be just okay. And some will be politely or not so politely deposited in the same bin with the doggie poo bags. Inedible and—like a bad business strategy—nasty, and if you eat it, you are likely to be spending time on the porcelain throne wishing you had chosen more wisely.
Business strategies are—or should be—in service of a vision the organization has. Sometimes the bigger problem is the vision is really a mission, or strategic objectives are confused with goals (see above), and the result is a word salad that no one understands. Oh, and about $25–50K was paid to some guy to facilitate this dead-on-arrival plan. You know you have a stinker when as soon as the ink is dry on the document, every- one leaves the room, glad that two-day waste of time is over, and goes back to business as usual.
Don’t do any of that. Read these twenty-four priceless vignettes of hapless leadership and strategic planning and learn what NOT to do when creating a winning strategy. Why not? Let’s be honest: your last strategic plan is still sitting on your shelf, and no one remembers what’s in it.