How NOT to Create a Winning Strategy

How NOT to Create a Winning Strategy book coverThe Beauty in the Rearview Mirror?

Wagging the Dog?

By Imitation Only?

Innovation Is for Losers?

Loyalty to Comrades?

The Impossible Divorce?

The last book in our series of “how-not-to guides,” “How NOT to Create a Winning Strategy,” is all about how NOT to create the plan. Leadership and teams (discussed in our first two guides) are meaningless without a strategy and tactical plan to make it happen.

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 possibly the worst, dragging out the old plan from previous years, dusting it off, making a couple of changes, and calling it good? These are just a couple of ways NOT to create a winning strategy. None of these will excite the team that needs to make the strategy happen.

The first reason strategies and strategic planning fail is that 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 – but they’re 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 what 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 the 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 look great and some will be somewhere in the middle. You want your cake to be both and to be the winning cake.

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 and the result is a word salad that no one understands or cares about. You know you have a stinker of a plan when not a word is spoken about time well spent creating it.

These twenty-four priceless vignettes of hapless leadership and strategic planning will help you avoid the common mistakes and help you create a winning strategy, not one that is destined for the round file.

If you’re ready to find out how not to create a winning strategy, click here