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Can You Say Your Strategy is in 35 Words?

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Fri, Mar 1, 2013

What would mean to your business if everyone in your company knew exactly what direction it’s headed toward?

As noted in Execute Meeting Rhythms – A Cadence of Accountability 81 percent of employees surveyed said they were not held accountable for regular progress on the organization’s goals. And the goals were not translated into specific actions—87 percent had no clear idea what they should be doing to achieve the goal.describe the image

In Creating the Discipline of the Advantage Patrick Lencioni outlines the Four Disciplines of the Advantage.  The only possible advantage left to organizations to have over their competition is organizational health.  That’s because it’s difficult to duplicate.

A reminder of these four disciplines:

  • Discipline 1: Build a Cohesive Leadership Team
  • Discipline 2: Create Clarity
  • Discipline 3: Over-Communicate Clarity
  • Discipline 4: Reinforce Clarity

As part of our Gazelles Public and Private workshops we ask the question: Can You State Your Company Strategy in 35 Words or Less?  We go around the room and discover what each participant feels their company strategy is.  What’s interesting is how different it can be when more than one person is in the room for a company or when conducting a private workshop.  Many times leadership team members are stuck in their silos and reveal a strategy that is based on their department or function and not at all in tune with the big picture for the company.

At your next leadership meeting, ask your team to answer this question: State Your Company’s Strategy in One Sentence.  See how many diverse and different versions you get.  If you get a common thread, a semblance of uniformity, rest assured you are far ahead of most companies.  In most business there will be many different offerings and very little commonality.   

If you don’t see this as a problem you don’t completely understand the power of having everyone on your team focused on One Thing.  You're missing the major obstacle the statistics provided at the front of this blog mean in terms of the impact on your business. 

Two of my clients have recently completed the process of reading HBR’s article, Can You Say What Your Strategy Is and then investing 3-4 leadership team meetings in developing their Strategy Statement.  Another is planning to complete this exercise in the next quarter. 

The clarity this brings  impacted both of these organizations positively. As it cascades through their organizations the value of the Organizational Health idea from Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage gains momentum. 

If it feels like I’m being overly redundant in my message, it’s because if you’re not doing something about improving clarity in your organization’s strategy, you are missing a golden opportunity to impact and grow your business.  My customer that developed their Strategy Statement in the first quarter of 2012 has seen the greatest growth since then, earning a third consecutive President’s Award, and this comment from their Banker, “Good year!  Nothing wrong with 17% increase to the bottom line:) You all have earned yourself another happy hour on USB!!” at the conclusion of 2012.

History is ripe with lessons on the power of focus.  In an upcoming blog, a story from the Civil War to illustrate the power of clarity (strategy). Decades ahead of its time, it reinforces the importance of creating your Strategy Statement. 

Monday's blog the Good News I received on my recent biopsy and the power of what you say and how you say it.  

Topics: Business Vision, The Advantage, Strategy Statement, Can You Say What Your Strategy Is

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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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