The New Definition of ‘Strategy’

Strategic Planning

“The essential source of value right now is coming less from master strategy than from broad experimentation, because no one has a complete grasp, or even a very good one, about what the next great idea will look like.”  -Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus

Strategy is no longer a document, or a recommendation.  The “all inclusive strategic plan” is irrelevant in the new business world.  What you need to focus on is small bets, ideas and experiments, measured meticulously over a predetermined amount of time.  Find what works and improve upon it.

‘New’ Strategy is a deliberate process of creating a business model that based on measurable data that is used to make smarter business decisions.  Testing various ways to increase: productivity, customer retention, lead generation, market share, cost reduction, employee engagement, feedback, technology implementation, new market penetration, customer engagement, shareholder value,  etc.

It’s simple really.

Base all decisions on measurement.  You must.

If you really can not make a decision that is not based on statistical fact, state the assumptions you are making to that lead you to your conclusion.  The key flaw of your strategy may lie in the fact that the foundation of it is based on assumptive evidence.  Don’t make the obvious mistake, acknowledge the assumptions.

  1. Determine outcomes and key results (OKR’s)
  2. Determine how to achieve the OKR’s and begin to understand the tactics.
  3. Implement measurable tactics immediately and improve them in real time.

Our world moves too fast to know exactly what tactics will or will not work.  Your new strategy must be nimble and fluid enough that three months down the road you can change your focus without losing your vision.  As long as you are measuring everything you do you can not fail, you will just learn many lessons on the road to effectiveness.

I know what you’re thinking.  All this measurement is sure to cost much, much more.  You’re right, it is going to cost you more. But it will cost a fraction of the amount of money you spend (or did spend) on advertising annually.  Also, with the added measurement tactics, marketing becomes an investment instead of an expense.  You will make better decisions, retain your valuable customers, understand where you are spending your marketing budget and what effect it has on your business.

It’s all starts with a new definition of strategy.  What do you think strategy means in 2011?

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1 reply
  1. Michael Klein
    Michael Klein says:

    Jeph,

    It’s a great reminder that being flexible enough to adapt is a strategy unto itself. Its so important to have a general direction of where you want to head but willing to leverage the tactics that will help you move in that direction.

    It’s a bit like racing a sailboat (not that I’ve done it personally). Generally speaking you have an idea of the direction that you want to head. But, the wind isn’t always blowing where you need to go, so you may need to set a diagonal course to keep the wind in your sails. When the wind changes, you may change your course to put you in the right position to have the wind move you forward. It’s a continuous process of analyzing and adjusting.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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