Most professionals struggle with strategy. They know that strategy is important in order to deliver the results, but consider it is senior management’s responsibility.
However, all projects and plans should start with strategy – the why.
Before getting into the what, how, who and when, you first need to be clear on the why.
What is a strategy? It can be defined as a long term plan designed to achieve a certain objective. Strategy bridges the gap between ‘where we are’ and ‘where we want to be’.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24 hour days.”
Strategic thinking takes complex issues and long-term objectives and breaks them down into manageable tasks.
Strategic thinking greatly reduces the potential of not getting the desired result. It helps you get from where you are to where you want to be. A strategic planning framework follows these steps:
- Where are we today? (context, challenges)
- What do we want the future to look like? (desired outcomes)
- Who do we work with to make this happen? (partners, stakeholders)
- What processes and actions will we use? (principles, directions, delivery)
- How will we know we have been successful? (performance measures)
To master strategy break down the issue into smaller tasks, ask why before how, challenge assumptions, clarify the desired outcome, decide who you need to work with and what resources are available.