6 Simple Questions for Building a Solid Strategy
Most entrepreneurs agree that the ability to consistently execute is a key factor in surviving the start-up phase and ultimately winning. That said, you cannot make a pig fly, no matter how much you stick with it. In other words, a crummy plan executed well still gets you crummy results. So start with a solid strategy.
A theme I hear over and over again from clients is, "Give us three steps, and we will knock 'em out. Give us a three-ring binder, and it will sit on the shelf." There is a direct correlation between the simplicity of a plan and the chances of executing it consistently. Given that, why stack the odds against yourself with a complex plan?
A sound plan and a simple plan are not mutually exclusive. If you are going to work on a plan, your plan should work for you.
Management journals, books, blogs and articles are filled with countless approaches to strategic planning. The definitions for the various components of a strategic plan can be debated endlessly: a vision versus a mission, initiatives versus tactics, goals versus objectives.
Whatever the terms you prefer, cut through the clutter by answering six simple questions about your business:
- Why do we exist?
- Where are we going?
- How will we conduct ourselves?
- What will we do?
- How will we measure our success?
- What improvements or changes must we make?
Answering these questions will get you started with a solid plan you can execute. If you're struggling, see how one company answered the 6 simple questions here.
And a final note of caution: don't be deceived by the simplicity of the questions. In order to articulate concise answers, you'll need to give them deep thought, good supporting data and honest discussion.
Download free book chapters from the author's book Stick with It: Mastering the Art of Adherence for more insights on how build and execute your strategy.
LEE COLAN | Columnist
Lee Colan is founder of the L Group, a consulting firm that equips and inspires leaders at every level. He is a leadership adviser, presenter of practical ideas, and a Thinkers 50 nominee for Top Management Thinker.