Successful strategy is a balance of art and science comprised of four key ingredients. Before we dive into these ingredients, let's focus on what strategy is NOT. Strategy isn't magic, it isn't hope and pixie dust sprinkled across the organization. Strategy also is not a single document that is developed by leadership that - once printed - collects dust throughout the rest of the year.
Strategy is a crucial element for organizations to continuously grow and deliver value to stakeholders and can be defined as "the art and science of planning, setting and communicating goals, and allocating resources for their most efficient and effective use."
Strategy truly is an art and a science. Successful strategy is informed by data derived from interactions with customers, vendors, communities, and other stakeholders of the organization. It embraces the intuition of members throughout the organization who are dedicated to delivering value to customers and ensuring future growth.
Bâton Global identifies the following four critical elements as necessary for successful strategy:
Know Yourself: It all starts with you, your team, and organization. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and what you bring to the communities in which you serve. The ancient Greeks knew this 4,000 years ago when "Know Thyself" was carved in the temple of Delphi and referenced over time by Greek philosophers. Take the time to know what you do and why customers engage with the organization so you can succinctly communicate your value proposition.
Know Your Enemy: Sun Tzu, the Chinese General, referenced a need to understand the external environment, including competitors and factors impacting your industry and organization. Frameworks such as a SWOT, PESTLE, or Porter's Five-Forces analysis reveal opportunities for organizational growth and potential threats due to competitors, suppliers, and/or changing consumer demand.
Think Big: If you set a goal (and also write it down) you are infinitely more likely to attain that goal. In 1961, John F. Kennedy set an ambitious goal of sending astronauts to the moon and successfully returning them unharmed. In response, the country rallied to achieve that goal! Setting aspirational goals begins with a profound understanding of yourself and your environment. This understanding can then lead to goals (AKA objectives) that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.).
Work Hard: If you have the first three ingredients, then all you have to do is work hard! Even the greatest strategies fail if they aren’t implemented with passion, diligence, and perseverance by members of your organization. This is often overlooked because we don’t think execution and strategy are the same…. but it is impossible to separate planning and execution. Successful strategy is realized by members of your organization and requires clear communication, perseverance, and adaptability.
If your organization has all of these ingredients, you're on the right path to a successful and sustainable strategy! Do you know the effectiveness of your organization's strategy? Take our 10-minute strategy assessment below: