Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

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“When you climb a fruitless tree, you go hungry.”

–     Ernest Agyemang Yeboah, Ghanaian writer and teacher

Strategy over structure.  Every time.

Strategy is what tells us if there’s any fruit in them there trees.

Strategy is what guides us on the day that tactics, markets, personalities, moods, weather, flight delays, serendipity or lucky breaks try to distract us.

Strategy is what determines structure.

Strategy is what defines everything.

Strategy is what drives me, and it’s why I’m so passionate about “strategy over structure,” which I’ve written and spoken about often, most pointedly, perhaps, in this post from late last year.

Strategy is what defines our “true north.”

Strategy is not, however, permanent.  It’s not a magnetic reading on a compass, but it’s almost as solid of a guiding light.

Strategy can and should change, if there’s compelling new information that drives the change.  An investor interested in something “sort of like” what we’re doing isn’t a reason to change the strategy.  It might be a reason to look more closely at execution, but in-and-of-itself, it’s not a reason to alter course.  A client who tries to open a bidding war for our services isn’t a reason to change the strategy.  A prospect who wants to hire us to do something we’re not well-equipped to do isn’t either.  In other words, if the strategy is “to get the most money possible,” it ain’t really a strategy.

Strategy is easily (perhaps too easily?) framed in three realms; mission, vision, values.

What’s our mission, our purpose, our “what,” if you will?  What problem are we out to solve?  What is the “win” for those to whom we plan to sell — and to their customers, if applicable?

What’s our vision, our connection to our “why?”  Why are we out to solve this particular problem and why do we think we’re the ones to git’r done?

Finally, what are our values, and do they drive our “how?”  Who’s gonna look back from the mirror at the end of each day.  When we win?  When we lose?  What do we stand for and how does that dictate the way we think, feel and act?

That last one is why structure comes last.  When we decide what we’re gonna do, why we’re gonna do it and how we’re gonna get it done, only then can we determine if we have the right bus, the right seats on the bus, let alone the right people in the seats.

Change is inevitable.  Misery is optional.  Hunger can’t be sated by an empty tree.  Strategy is deciding which tree to climb.

 


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