To Simplify Your Strategy You Must Make Tough Choices
Imagine being tasked with finding a specific book in the overwhelming mess above? Wouldn’t it be great to open the door into a clear and organized room that only contained the most important and most relevant books that you need? The same is true when you put together a corporate strategy. To simplify your strategy you must focus and make tough choices.
If your core strategic priorities are too numerous (i.e., greater than three or four) or too complicated (i.e., cannot be said in 12 words or less), you are unlikely to create enough understanding, believability or commitment to successfully execute the plan. In fact, we like to put entire corporate strategies on one page as the key deliverable from strategy retreat facilitation.
Strategic Complexity Creates Strategic Failure
IBM found that less than 10% of even well formulated strategies are effectively executed. We find that employees rate their company’s strategy as 50% less clear than their executive team. And sadly, the majority of executive teams that we measure report low levels of strategic alignment within their own ranks.
To simplify your strategy, you must focus and keep things simple enough so that your direction, priorities, and plans are clear enough, believable enough, and implementable enough for all key stakeholders, not just those in the executive suite that drafted it. If you try to cover too many objectives at once or if you cannot simply state what matters most in a few clear words, you will lose focus and confuse those who you need to carry out your plans.
Three Key Warning Signs that You Need to Simplify Your Strategy
Here are the top three red flags that your strategy is not simple enough to succeed:
How to Simplify Your Strategy to Close the Gap
When you want to close the gap that exists in 9 out of 10 companies between strategy design and strategy execution, you need to avoid complex schemes and follow a few simple rules for strategy.
Do not underestimate the importance of cultural alignment — strategies must go through culture and people to get successfully implemented.
If you can explain it to someone outside of your company and they understand it immediately, you are on the right track.
The Bottom Line
To simplify your strategy you must focus and make tough choices. Not all things are of equal importance or value. The better you can simplify your strategic priorities, the clearer your work force will be about how to make it happen.
To learn more about how to simplify strategy, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy
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