Great strategy is critical to the success of every organization. That notwithstanding, most managers find strategy to be more complicated, arduous and ineffectual than either they would wish or is productive for their organizations. It doesn’t have to be so. Strategy can and should be simple, fun and effective. But that requires a clear definition of what strategy is and a simple process for making strategy choices.
In 2013, I wrote a book called Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works with P&G CEO A.G. Lafley, with whom I work closely, to clarify and simplify strategy to make it a powerful tool for managers. That requires having a clear definition of strategy: strategy is choice. Strategy is not a long planning document; it is a set of interrelated and powerful choices that positions the organization to win. There are five key choices in the Strategy Choice Cascade:
- What is our winning aspiration?
- Where will we play?
- How will we win where we have chosen to play?
- What capabilities must be in place to win?
- What management systems are required to ensure the capabilities are in place?
Making strategy choices is never easy because it means doing some things at the expense of others. I have worked for 20 years on developing and honing a process that I call the Strategic Choice Structuring process that helps managers work together to make powerful choices.
Armed with a definition of strategy as choice, the Strategy Choice Cascade and the Strategic Choice Structuring process, any manager in any organization can build powerful strategies.