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5 Signs You Might Have a Good Strategy

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Can you recognize a good strategy when you see one? Are their certain traits that all great strategies exhibit? And can you tell whether the last strategy you saw or built was anything more than just a wild-ass guess as to what to do next? The Good Strategy Sniff Test outlines 5 things to look for as indicators of a compelling strategy.

Published in: Business
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5 Signs You Might Have a Good Strategy

  1. 1. T H E G O O D Strategy S N I F F T E S T 5 SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE A GOOD STRATEGY
  2. 2. 01 IT'S NOT A PLAN T H E G O O D Good strategies are clear on the WHAT before they outline the HOW. As international businessman, author and Columbia B-school Professor, Willie Pietersen, likes to say: STRATEGY is about DOING THE RIGHT THINGS, PLANNING is about DOING THINGS RIGHT. Strategy S N I F F T E S T
  3. 3. T H E G O O D 02 Strategy You can't devise and implement a solution if you're not clear on the problem. Take the time to properly diagnose the challenge, and then stay focused on it until you've made it go away. As inventor and industrialist, Charles Kettering, was fond of saying: A problem WELL-STATED, is a problem HALF-SOLVED. S N I F F T E S T IT SOLVES A PROBLEM
  4. 4. T H E G O O D 03 Strategy S N I F F T E S T IT HAS A GOOD SHAPE Good strategy demands structure. UCLA's Richard Rumelt, one of HBR's Top 50 Management Gurus, calls it the kernel: DIAGNOSIS - this is the problem we need to solve (see #02) GUIDING POLICY - high-level list of "things we need to do" COHERENT ACTIONS - detailed steps necessary to implement the Guiding Policy, including goals, deadlines and owners i.e the "plan"
  5. 5. T H E G O O D 04 Strategy S N I F F T E S T IT CREATES DIFFERENCE Great strategies are borne out of deep empathy and a desire to make things better. Bernadette Jiwa (the female Seth Godin) likes to say that difference happens at the intersection of truth, opportunity and action. Good Strategy lives there too. (P.S. extra points for noticing how truth, opportunity & action resemble Rumelt's kernel). It's not about being different, It's about creating difference. You can read more about The Difference Model here.
  6. 6. T H E G O O D 05 Strategy S N I F F T E S T IT'S ROUND Changing market conditions can render a strategy obsolete the minute you've presented it! For this reason, good strategies are circular, not linear. They feature ongoing measurement, re-analysis, and adjustment, as appropriate. In other words: Great strategies are working models, not final deliverables. See Pietersen's Strategic Learning model for more on how to build self-learning strategies
  7. 7. T H E G O O D Strategy S N I F F T E S T ABOUT THE AUTHOR DEVON FERREIRA is an LA based strategist, entrepreneur and consulting executive. Works with investors, start-ups and senior execs in large companies to design and implement transformative marketing, digital and operational strategies. Former VP/global head of digital for Oakley. Previously Director of Marketing Strategy at Disney. Co-founder of Blank You Very Much, a brand collaboration & design community. Click here to connect with Devon on LinkedIn

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