How many times per day do you use the word strategy? I consider the word strategy as one of the most over- and misused words in business. Here I try to explain what strategy is, fully aware that my interpretation is based on experience, and not what the schoolbooks of the world tell us. At the end of this article, you can download a presentation covering my suggested steps of what to consider when creating a business strategy.
Many companies express a desire to evolve their way of working with their business strategy. This will require that strategy is defined, and that you decide why you have a business strategy, what business strategy means, how to use it, what to include and what to do with it.
What is business strategy?
A business strategy shall never be a plan. Google "What is a strategy", and you will become aware that words like plans and actions are common in most available definitions.
For me, a business strategy for companies or organisations is their main steering document, not the plan, and no actions are included. Schoolbooks define business strategy as "a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim", or similar. However, business plans are created based on the business strategy.
The business strategy
The business strategy should always include the vision, the purpose, the mission, the desired positioning, the defined target groups and the main objectives. And my advice is that this should always be a one-pager.
The business strategy guides how people throughout your organisation should prioritise, take decisions and allocate resources to fulfil and live the business strategy.
The executive management task is to integrate all parts and processes of the business and aligning them with the business strategy.
The prioritisations, roadmap and guiding principles
When creating a business strategy, expectations and reality can be challenging. Once the business strategy is finalised, it should be complemented by the prioritisations, a master roadmap and a set of guiding principles. The master roadmap must cover all prerequisites to achieve the business strategy, and the guiding principles should define the actions people in the business must take and the things they should prioritise.