Sunday, 11 December 2011

Strategic Focus

Scott Adams nails it again in today's Dilbert comic. Strategy is a process of deciding what you are, as well as what you are not going to do. It involves making tough choices based on real insight into the challenges and opportunities you face.

All too often I see organisations not reaching that level of understanding, and so not making those tough choices. As a result, they take a shot gun approach giving their strategy as wide a spread as possible. The result is a strategy that lacks focus. Staff are then unable to discern any real strategic intent, and quickly realise that their pet projects, and whatever else they were already doing, find a comfortable home in the strategy. Meaningful change is not achieved.

A strategy should result in a small number of focus points. Cognitive psychology tells us that people can only remember between 5 and 9 things anyway, but in my experience 4 or 5 focus points is probably more than enough if you want people to remember and act on them.