Dec 12, 2018

Understanding Why Some Strategies Work and Others Don’t


Most of us develop strategies for our organizations on a regular basis. However, we often forget exactly what we are trying to accomplish in that strategy. In other words, to what end or intended outcome does each strategy accomplish? We think this fundamental issue has a lot to do with why a particular strategy is successful or not.

We have found that there are five distinct purposes or intended outcomes under which you can categorize any strategy. They are:

Missional Mandate
Achieving this goal will purely align with your mission.

Competitive Imperative
Achieving this goal will be responsive or “catch up” to marketplace demands.

Element of Distinction
Achieving this goal will position your organization as the only one of a kind in a specific category.

Revenue Producer
Achieving this goal will produce revenue which can be invested back into program or product.

Innovative Disruptor
Achieving this goal will create disruptive change in the industry, altering the trajectory of the sector or changing the rules of the game in the future.

If your strategy does not meet any one these five criterial, you might want to question exactly what it does accomplish for your organization. A successful portfolio of strategies typically are balanced among the four distinct purposes listed above. For example, it is often best if your organization is meeting missional mandates, being responsive to the market demands, creating new distinctions, and generating new revenue to invest in program.

Remember a strategy is in and of itself not enough. It must be intended to accomplish a specific objective. Understanding what you are trying to accomplish and aligning your strategies accordingly is a best practice in planning.

Finally, look to your vision to help formulate strategy. If your organization does not have a vision, or have answered the question of “why” you do what you do, then it is time to go back to the woodshed. We will talk about the importance of vision in formulating strategy in our next post.

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