Let Your Yes be YES! and Your No be NO!

If you’re like most companies, you’ve chased a long list of ideas – so long in fact that most employees have lost track of the direction you really want to go. Even your leaders are distracted and can’t keep up. And, despite their claims to be aligned, each seem to have different agendas. Employees mumble about conflicts and priority overload, but the pile of initiatives just gets bigger. Then, you run up against real resource and cost constraints—the crunch moment where you must make hard trade-off choices.  So you pull the leaders together to get clarity and focus. You ask, “What is our strategy?” Your worst fear is realized … crickets.

Every organization has more potential opportunities for growth than they have resources to pursue them effectively. Prioritized and clearly focused resources more fully exploit opportunities and create greater return than unfocused resources. So, if you and your organization don’t know what to say “No” to, then you actually don’t have a strategy. And without it, you have no clear basis for setting priorities, coordinating work, and driving profitable growth.

Strategy forces you to define a competitively distinct, defensible position in a chosen market, and it demands that you clearly answer a cascading set of questions:

  • What are our goals and aspirations for the business, over what time period?
  • In which markets will we compete?
  • What is our offering and through which channels will we reach customers?
  • How will we differentiate ourselves from competitors to win?
  • What critical capabilities must we have to execute the strategy?

Answering these questions compels leaders to make hard, but important trade-off choices — clarifying for themselves and the organization what it will pursue, and equally important, what it will not.