The Importance of Strategy

Building strategy is about creating a narrative that makes sense of the past, gives meaning to the present and projects the future.
“You are never in a mess if you have plan”.

Over the years that piece of advice has served us well, and the multitude we’ve shared it with since.

The Center For Creative Leadership describes strategy as;

‘the pattern of choices intended to assure an organization’s enduring success.’

You are not defined by your history or the present situation you find yourself in now. You are defined by the direction you are moving in. If that trajectory is to be by design not accident the difference is strategy.

Strategy in business and in life is important. In business, strategy is the pursuit by design of economic value. In life, strategy is the pursuit by design of purpose & meaning. The point of intersection of these two strategies is usually the birthplace of start-ups.

Long term success in business depends on maintaining the growth trajectory of the business in the cross hairs of economic value and purpose & meaning. Thinking back to the series on Dreaming by Design then perhaps the same principles hold true in life as in business.

So then, at a personal level, strategy is not a straitjacket, it’s a storyboard that lives and breathes with us. Building strategy is about creating a narrative that makes sense of the past, gives meaning to the present and projects the future. It becomes the story we tell ourselves and others. A story that invites family, friends, fellow travellers, employees, customers, partners and investors to become participants and authors, to join us in co-creating the future. In essence strategy answers the question “what’s your story?” And then moves on to answer the questions “how does the story continue?” and “how does the story end?”

“What’s your story?” is another way of asking “what’s your strategy?”

Building a strategy for life or business is about asking the right questions, which is explored further in our Strategy: Values, Vision and Mission post.

1. What are the non-negotiables we will not compromise on that fuel as well as shape our journey? (Values).

2. Who do we want to be when we grow up? (Vision).

3. What do we want to be known for? (Mission).

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The crucible is a catalyst for personal transformation and the point of departure for the journey from “I” to “we” that characterises authentic leadership.
If to live and to lead authentically is to live and to lead intentionally then to live and lead intentionally is to know what matters most and allow this to shape the choices you make.
It occurs to me that authentic leaders not only embrace their life story, they tell it and in the process invite those they lead to participate in that narrative.