Category Archives: Interpreting Strategy Documents

How to identify important information in strategy formulation documents, to assure effective strategy execution.

Strategy is Not Long-Range Planning, Vision, Mission, or Values

A strategic initiative is a response to performance gap. It’s purpose is to close it. A leader of a strategic initiative needs to watch out for the “fluff” of attractive artifacts like mission, vision, values, and long-range plans.
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Is it Possible to Have a Perfect Strategy?

There is a perfect strategy in the sense that you could design a strategy for a given moment in time that effectively addresses the core competitive challenge. Strategy as a crafted, designed response to a specific and important challenge. Perfection means it is entirely adequate for the situation and you would gain little benefit from further tweaking. You gain more benefits from bearing down on execution compared to polishing a presentation deck.
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Perspective is More Powerful than Vision

Having a perspective means that the ideas and direction are open to discussion, inviting more people into the discussion to contribute their perspectives. Importantly, it avoids the elitist nature of many vision statements.

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Coherence: It is Only a Good Plan (Strategy) If It Makes Good Sense

Coherence means that things make sense. In the context of strategy, it means that the committed resources, policies, and actions are consistent and coordinated. A plan is only a good plan if it makes good sense. Unfortunately, most organizations pursue multiple objectives that are unconnected with one another (and sometimes even conflict).They are anything but coherent! Insert the concept of coherence into your discussions. How? One way is to ask simple questions, “Does this make sense? Where are the gaps? Are there conflicting objectives?” Another way to encourage coherence is to activate the Chief Story Teller role. Imposing coherence and discipline on an organization is difficult and takes hard work by the strategic initiative leader.

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How to Prioritize Strategic Initiatives

This article concludes with five recommendations for prioritizing strategic initiatives. It describes a the challenges that organizations face with too many projects, and explains that strategy is used to screen all of these important – or so-called strategic – projects into a much smaller portfolio of projects.
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Strategic Initiatives Case Study: Best Buy’s “Renew Blue” Turnaround

Renew Blue is the name of a strategic initiative intended to reverse the competitive decline of Best Buy. This article analyzes the initiative’s strategy and raises questions about the correctness of the situation diagnosis. It examines the Renew Blue vision & strategic pillars, and concludes with a list of 7 learnings for leaders of strategic initiatives. Continue reading

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The Business Value Proposition

Leaders of strategic initiatives need to have a working knowledge of the various perspectives on value propositions because organizations often charter strategic initiatives to close the gap (or create advantage) on value propositions. Using Best Buy’s Renew Blue strategic initiative, Greg Githens describes the business canvas approach and VALiD approaches to understanding value propositions. Continue reading

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Advice for Strategic Initiative Charters

Strategic initiative charters are different than typical project and program charters that are expecting a pre-determined result. Greg Githens explains the functions of strategic initiative charter. He provides practical advise such as the “two page” rule and outlines 12 elements that should be found in a strategic initiative charter. Continue reading

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Use the As-Is-&-To-Be Table to Clarify Strategic Initiative Vision

This is a practical technique for strategic initiative vision, similar to gap analysis. It includes a case example of how Greg Githens used it to help a COO and team structure a floundering strategic initiative for better performance. He advises more effort on the To Be visioning and addressing ambiguity. He cautions about the risk of analysis paralysis. This article can help managers involved in strategy formulation and strategy execution. Continue reading

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A Guide to the Three Types of Strategy and Business Model Scope

Strategic initiatives arise to support three types of strategies. Corporate strategies have to do with market selection. Business strategies have to do with competing within a business model. Functional strategies have to do with effective specialization. Each interact with the business model’s value proposition. Continue reading

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