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Strategy. Many people who are paid big bucks to do it don’t know how. So they think it’s difficult. And others get rewarded for telling them it’s really difficult. We here at are going to tell you it’s simple. Ridiculously simple.

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There are few words that have been more over-utilized, misunderstood and contra-indicated than Empowered.

One word that stands out, however, is Strategy. A quick search on yields 361,899 books that mention the word.

Good Strategy. Bad Strategy. Strategy Paradox.

All of it covering many more pages than the subject deserves. You see, when it comes down to it, you’re either strategic or you are not. Strategy is not a suite of tools and analysis frameworks. Strategy is not finding a different way to describe what your competitors are doing and then copy it. Strategy is not a boutique consultancy you can hire to come in and fix every ill that assails your company.

[unless it’s you’re bringing in… We rock!]

Strategy is simply this:

Given where we are, where do we intend to go and how do we intend to get there?

There, that wasn’t pages and pages and pages of elegant frameworks and lattice diagrams. That wasn’t rooms of consultants and underlings lining up spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of data masquerading as information. That wasn’t lengthy market analyses and focus group testing.

Given where we are, where do we intend to go and how do we intend to get there?

That’s a day’s seminar at $20K, right there.

[plus expenses]

Given where we are…

You have 6 bullets to describe where you are. You can use three to list the best things about where your company is. You can use three to list the shittiest things about where your company is.

No more than the 6, though. And each one, no more than 15 words.

With that sort of brevity, we don’t expect you to be writing things like “Our people are our greatest asset” or “We compete really effectively in our core markets”. You wouldn’t waste words on that puerile shit would you?

And you definitely wouldn’t write that “I’d be successful if only my boss would get out of the way”, would you? When everyone suffers from the same ill, it’s not a source of strategic competitive advantage.

… Where do we intend to go…

You have one bullet. 20 words.

That’s it. One bullet.

So, you’d better make sure it’s not your common or garden vision statement.

And if you can’t describe it that simply, in that few words, then you aren’t ever going to learn from any of the 361,899 books on Strategy on Sorry, but you’d better hope your executive options are above water so that you can cash them in now… They will be under water soon enough.

… and how do we intend to get there?

Grow. Acquire. Consolidate. Cut. Diversify. Outsource. Innovate. Divest.

Choose a verb and stick to it.

And here’s a clue. Very few people see a compelling future in anything other than growth or innovation. If you’re really planning on going somewhere different, your action had better be one or the other.

Because if not, you’re missing a fundamental human need. We survive against threat. We mitigate risk. We respond more strongly to fear than to happiness. We endlessly search for more as a hedge against scarce resources. If your strategic action is not growth or innovation – the cave-people in your organization won’t ever and we mean EVER join you on the journey.

[Calling employees cave people is certain to cause reaction. Use that reaction to sell lectures on how evolution hasn’t caught up with the modern world]


Given where we are, where do we intend to go and how do we intend to get there?

It really isn’t that complex.

[But then is truly strategic, so this stuff is like breathing. That’s why we’re not the CEO of a major corporation, or a highly paid underling in position just to perpetuate the illusion of strategic planning]