Strategy Made Simple

(This is something I wrote for my long defunct blog How to Get There. It was originally published on October 18, 2013. I think the concept holds up pretty well. You can see the original post, if you like, here.)

Over the years I have learned a thing or two about strategy. Up to now that knowledge has mostly been not very easy to explain. I have reread all of my previous posts on this blog that dealt with strategy and I admit that none of them makes understanding how to do strategy any easier. I would liken what I have written so far to the parable of the blind men and the elephant. I have written about parts of strategy, without providing an adequate framework for explaining how people could put it to work for themselves.

Now, I believe I’ve had a breakthrough which will allow me to more easily explain strategy to anyone. It occurred to me that the principles of strategy can be broken down into 3 simple parts: purpose, planning, and progress. The alliteration should make it easy to remember, plus, I happen to like alliteration.

After a little thought, I ended up with this:

Purpose

  • What are you doing?
  • Why are you doing it?

Planning

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • What if?

Progress

  • Successes
  • Failures
  • Conflicts
  • Changes

This covers every question you need to answer to develop a working strategic plan. Of course, there are many tools and techniques that can be used to add detail and complexity to your plan, but they are not necessary. This framework can get you where you need to go. I think it works.