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6 key questions every business strategy should answer

My previous blog post was the last in a series of 6. This post ties them together and provides links back to the original posts.

The series was prompted by the ideas that:

  1. Many people struggle to define "strategy" or to agree with each other on the definition. (I've written about my own definitions here.)
  2. This confusion hampers the process of developing and executing business strategies unnecessarily.

One solution is to keep going until we all agree on the definitions. But that could take a long time. In fact, we might never get there.

So a more expedient approach is instead to look at the questions that good business strategy tries to answer. If we can answer those questions, then we're in good shape. Whether or not we then choose to label that as "strategy" becomes less important.

I boiled the problem down into 6 questions. For convenience, I gave each a label. These are:

  1. Future-oriented: What will you need to do to succeed in the future, and how is that different from what you needed to do to succeed in the past? 
  2. Evidence-based: What evidence to you have to support your decisions, and what processes do you have in place for reconfirming or adjusting that on an ongoing basis?
  3. Focused: What will you choose to do, and equally importantly, what will you choose not to do or to stop doing?
  4. Differentiated: How will you differentiate yourself in the market?
  5. Aligned: How will you align all of your people and resources to the achievement of your goals?
  6. Results-oriented: How will you know if your strategy is working?
I then wrote 6 blog posts. Each blog post outlines my thoughts on that question and why it is important. These are:

  1. Future-orientedSkate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been
  2. Evidence-basedEveryone is entitled to an opinion, but...
  3. FocusedDon't chase two rabbits
  4. DifferentiatedChoice, trade-offs and differentiation
  5. AlignmentWhat is strategic alignment, and why does it matter?
  6. Results-orientedFocus on the results
Finally, I summed up of the 6 areas with a (mostly) well-known quote to help them land, and created this image of them.

Please do let me know what you think in the comments.

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