The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. — @MichaelEPorter
I was recently having a conversation with someone about strategy. He noted that at the end of the day, strategy is simply about choice. As someone who does a lot of strategy work, I was taken by this elegant definition of strategy. A well-defined strategy should be an articulation of a choice you are making about how you will achieve your vision. It is also the choice of what you will not do to achieve your vision. It is saying yes to some things and no to others.
It’s also a guide for the choices you make about how to implement the strategy. On a tactical level, it serves as the guidepost for the daily choices and decisions that get made about what markets to pursue, what products to introduce, who to hire and promote and where offices should be located. It can be a touchstone for difficult decisions, providing criteria for weighing your options.
For the strategy to play its important role in guiding choice, it needs to be widely communicated and understood. It needs to be discussed on a regular basis so it is top of mind. Too many times I hear Directors or VP’s in large organizations that the strategy is not clear. If they don’t know it, how can anyone else?
Edith Onderick-Harvey is a recognized organizational and leadership development expert. She works with Fortune 500 firms, growing companies, and universities to design their organizations, develop their leaders and continually elevate performance. She has been quoted in The New York Times, Human Resource Executive, CNN.com and the author of the newly released book “Getting Real: Strategies for Leadership in Today’s Innovation-Hungry, Time-Strapped, Multi-Tasking World of Work”