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Crafting Multiple Strategies

As a clever reader, you’ve probably already figured out that there’s no such thing as having a single “Business growth strategy” that can guide every action you take in your business.  You can (and should) have the vision and core beliefs guidelines we’ve talked about, but it would be unwieldy to try to craft a single strategy that takes into account everything you need to pay attention to in your business.

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What A Rubik’s Cube Can Teach Us About Strategy

Rubik’s Cubes are fascinating.

As a kid, they frustrated the hell out of me.  I’d spend an afternoon with the cube in various states of chaos, thinking I was getting closer and closer, but never anywhere near solving it.

Eventually, I’d throw it across the room and loudly declare it impossible.

Come on, admit it – I’m not the only one who suspected that giving these things to kids was a cruel joke to get us to shut up and stay occupied for a while, am I?

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Strategy – Tying it all together

A Venn diagram showing the elements of strategy

Hope everybody had a fantastic weekend!  Today, I want to tie the latter part of last weeks posts together.

If you’ve read the last few days worth of posts, you can probably see where we’re going here.  Strategy is what happens when you have a clear idea of what you’re working towards, what the “rules of the game” that you’ve set for yourself to move towards that vision, and what skills and resources you bring to the table.

Stated slightly differently:  Your strategy will be bound by the common vision, the shared beliefs, and the distinct core competencies of the team you lead (or the team you know you need to develop).

With those things clearly defined and identified, it becomes much easier to determine the strategies you need to move towards your vision.  Probably more importantly than defining what you can do, work in these areas will show you what you cannot or should not attempt to do.

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Elements of Strategy: Competencies

As the name implies, these are what you’re good at.  In fact, these are what you’re great at.  While there’s a long standing tradition of trying to “improve” weak areas, more recent thinking and research into this area (especially from the Gallup organization) is converging on the idea that you’re better off to put more focus where you’re great, and either hire or outsource other areas to people who are great at them.

To paraphrase Marcus Buckingham in “Now Discover your strengths”:  “If you spend all of your time trying to improve your weaknesses, you can get all the way up to mediocre.”

So what does this mean for your business?

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Elements of Strategy: Core Beliefs

Core beliefs are related to, but separate from your vision.  You can think of core beliefs as the rules you set for yourself on how you want to reach your vision.  They often play an even stronger role in the day-to-day operation and decision making than the vision itself, because while the vision is about what you’re striving towards, the core beliefs are the ways you must do it.

Core beliefs are still in the abstract realm, as most things in our strategy discussion are.  Here are some examples of core beliefs:

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Elements of Strategy: Vision

As you’ll recall from yesterday, one of my favorite definitions of strategy is that it is “The intersection between vision, core beliefs, and competencies.”

Over the next three days, we’re going to explore each of these areas.  So let’s take a look at what “Vision” really means in the context of your business.


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Making Sense of Strategy

Let’s talk about strategy.

Ah, strategy – It’s one of those words that are so common in our language, we rarely even think about what it means.  What is a strategy?  What’s the difference between a strategic and tactical decision?

If I asked you right now, could you tell me the strategy you’re using in your business to get the best results from everything you’re doing?  Every business has a strategy, whether they know it or not – it’s just that some are more highly developed than others.

For example, some businesses sole strategy is “Show up and hope for the best.”  Others run with a “Keep doing what I’ve always done, and to hell with anything else” approach.  Sometimes, these can be surprisingly successful, and be in place for YEARS before the inherent problems with them begin to show through in the business.

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself… Before we can talk about how to create a powerful strategy (or set of strategies), we need to define it.

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