“Many strategies suffer from the ‘alpha male, chest beating’ problem, of simply stating how great we will be, and how we will succeed. This is not enough.”
Strategy isn’t just about what you’re going to do. You also need to outline your ‘anti-strategies’ — what you’re not going to do and why, so others can understand your strategic choices and get behind them.
Anti-strategies focus on the things you could do, but won’t. They discipline you to focus on what matters by preventing you from going after everything and doing nothing very well.
For example: We will focus on building new services that meet unmet customer needs (strategy) — we will not build anything established ourselves that could be outsourced (anti-strategy).”
Go through your strategy and check every key statement — do they have anti-strategies, valid alternatives? If they don’t then they don’t represent a choice and therefore aren’t strategies, more a chest-beat — “we aim to win in market X” (Really! Was there ever a choice to try and lose in market X?).
Your aim should be to have a clear set of choices that people can understand and mobilise around. And with strategy “it’s better to be really clear and nearly right, than nearly clear and really right.”
Blog based on The Essence of Strategy by Dave Aron (2016)
This blog is part of a series introducing Power Maps* an innovative low-tech / hi-impact technique enabling organisations to align around a common purpose, anticipate what’s coming next and develop superior plans to outcompete rivals. If you’d like to learn more visit narrativeinsights.com or email us to be notified of our free monthly webinars where we explain how Power Maps can help your organisation get ahead of the curve in the digital age.
* Based on Wardley Maps, released under creative commons 3.0 license
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