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Do you know these three secrets of a winning business strategy?


In ancient Greece, people consulted with the oracle to get advice from the gods before making big and small decisions. At the Temple of Apollo at Delphi one of the most revered oracles, Pythia, was available once a month to send divine answers to mortal questions.

The historian Herodotus told the story of Croesus, king of Lydia, who asked the Delphic oracle whether he should attack Persia. Her response was, “If you cross the river, the great empire will be destroyed.” According to a well-known tradition of hearing what you want to hear, Croesus decided it was a great sign of success, and began the invasion. History has it that he did cross the river, and the great empire was destroyed – unfortunately, it was Croesus ’own army and ultimately his empire destroyed by Persia.

So you could call Oracle a strategy guru (she knew the future!) Or a monstrous strategic advisor (why didn’t she say so?).

Too often in strategy we don’t see or talk about it. Sometimes we go back to jargon that sounds impressive, but means little. Sometimes we are covered with too many issues and too many options. Sometimes people hear different things.

The key to success

Management consultant Chris Zuck conducted a multi-year study that identified the root causes of the long-term success of organizations, many of which are very large, such as Nike and IKEA. This may seem unreasonable, but he found that one of the most significant reasons for success was “simplicity … through clarity of strategy and purpose.”

Clarity is an underestimated factor in a powerful strategy. To create a winning strategy, we need clarity about three things: goals, opportunities, and priorities.

1. Knowledge of betting: clarity of purpose

A powerful strategy starts with understanding the main purpose of your organization. The more clarity you have in this matter, the more imagination you will be able to explore the best ways to achieve these great ambitions.

Clarity of your goal will help you determine what your strategic decisions are about. This allows you to make bold decisions because the risks can be assessed in the context of the broader picture of the organization.

2. Outlining options: clarity about opportunities

During strategic discussions you need to understand exactly which options you are choosing. “Delimitation” is simply a description and explanation of options and their consequences.

Often, when talking about strategy, people use sterilization or jargon that sounds impressive but means little. For example, someone might suggest as a key strategy “we need to better engage key stakeholders”. Fantastic! No one could argue with that … but what does that mean? For example, who are they, how could we manage the relationship differently, and why would it be better? Delimitation helps everyone dig deeper and identify common language.

3. Focus on what matters most: clarity about priorities

The strategy is to make a choice. We choose what to do and what not to do. Sometimes we can get so caught up in imagining opportunities and exploring opportunities that we forget to narrow down and focus on the most important.

Clarity about what we choose between and ultimately what we choose is very important for developing a powerful strategy. When organizations come together to develop a strategy, it takes so much time to develop ideas and discuss problems that there is often not enough time to make clear decisions.

Clarity underpins true consensus because everyone understands the stakes, options and, ultimately, the decisions.

We live in a complex world. Our organizations can be complex beasts. Our customers and stakeholders are numerous and diverse. We can get more information than ever before. On the one hand, it provides fantastic opportunities for a better understanding of our work environment and the factors of change. On the other hand, information overload can make it difficult to focus on key, relevant information.

While the ideas we deal with in strategy can be complex, the results don’t have to be. You cannot create the consensus and impetus needed to implement a common story if people do not understand its essence.

We need to clarify the strategic planning process to create a powerful strategy.

And here’s the bonus: if you’ve achieved clarity in the planning process, then the transfer of strategy should be easy. Clarity of strategy leads to clear statements about your main goal, an agreement on what is most important, and a commitment to act. These clear agreements underlie powerful communication and create impetus for implementation.

This post originally appeared on Flying Solo, read the original here.

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Now read this:

Six Steps to Building a Successful Profit Business Strategy with a Goal


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