The Organizational Strategist

April 6, 2010

The Dos and Don’ts of Strategy

Filed under: Strategy — Tags: , , , , , — Whit @ 11:24 pm


The strategy an individual or an organization takes utilizes processes that involve deep thinking, purposeful activity and dedication. Strategy is decided upon through planning, analysis, and the synthesis of external and internal information. Implementing a strategy is an activity that follows a very particular path. Knowing what choices to make based off of a strategy is just as much what to do as what not to do.

-Strategic Choices-

All of the decisions made by a leader should tie back to the overall strategy. If a choice does not fit with the strategy, then it detracts from the effectiveness of that strategy. If choices do not align with the trajectory of the strategy, it gets pulled astray or becomes counterproductive. Strategy should follow a direct path to win in the market through the alignment of resources and capabilities.

A bullet fires in a line. If a bullet is misshapen because its casing and molding were not cast correctly, it will not fire as straight or as fast. The aerodynamic variables of a bullet impact its effectiveness and efficiency. In that way, strategy is like a bullet because all of the elements that go into making the execution smooth will directly affect the outcome.

Choices of strategic action have lasting influence on an organization. Once a decision is made it can signal future changes and influence future decisions to be made. Much like how a court case decision can be referenced to clarify law, previous decisions that defined and implemented a strategy provide clarity into how the path of that strategy should be walked in the future. A decision to outsource an aspect of a service or product may lead to faster throughput, lower cost, and higher quality. However, the area of outsourcing might create a dependency upon the outsourcing partner, which may be an unintended consequence. Over time, that dependency may be a great enablement or an eventual detriment to winning in the market.


A well understood and clear strategy makes positive momentum and change easier to enact. From clarity of purpose and knowledge of the scope of a strategy come the information needed to know where and when to go forward with an initiative and when not to do so. It is important to keep in mind that the Yes answers and the No answers can be equally helpful in aligning resources and capabilities to win in a market.


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