Don’t just learn from the past. Learn from the future, too.
Strategic thinking and tactical execution is one of the best skill combinations for anyone looking to step up their career. In particular, being able to think strategically is the key to adding more value to a company, and higher leverage in compensation. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably developed a strong competency for tactics, and are looking to pair it up with a competency for strategy.
Having put together marketing and content strategies for CEOs and business leaders for several years now, I’ve learned how simple this can be. While consulting companies and leaders may have made strategy look complicated and mystical, it’s actually deceptively simple.
A Strategy is Nothing More than a Plan
Strategy is the process of getting from where you are, with what you have, to where you want to go. You may know strategy to involve meetings, consensus, buy-in, forecasting, and bureaucracy. It’s a little known secret that that sort of strategizing — known as formal strategic planning — doesn’t create that much value for companies.
Real business value comes through informal strategy, when people talk to each other and share information. That’s why savvy business leaders design their offices for people to have more spontaneous, unplanned, meetings.
It doesn’t always take someone else to create a strategy, of course. If you’re planning for yourself, you can make use of that type of informal strategy. You can also make time to adapt to new opportunities and information through weekly reviews with yourself.
Similarly, in The Passion Economy, author Adam Davidson talks to MIT professor Scott Stern about strategy. While the word can be intimidating, Stern says it can be rooted in the most basic questions: What are you selling? Who most wants it? Why do they want it? How do they pay for it?
At first, a strategy is not meant to be a perfect plan, it’s meant to be a starting point. As you start taking in information and feedback from the real world, you will adapt your strategy accordingly…