What the heck is strategy anyway?

basecamp Feb 23, 2021

When I was researching this topic to better explain this concept that I have naturally lived with my whole adult life, I was surprised to find the amount of information out there trying to do the same thing.

 From Peter Drucker declaring strategy was only about competing on price in the 50’s and 60’s, moving on to Michael Porter mapping out competitive forces in 1979, only to update it in 2008, to countless articles in Harvard Business Review, there is no shortage of opinions on what strategy is.

Strategy is a topic that makes the eyes of even very smart business people glaze over.

I know too many clients and business owners who simply roll their eyes and announce, “Who cares?! Let’s just get the work done!”

However, as your business matures and grows, how do you keep the train on the tracks and keep all your people on the same train?  That is where Strategy comes in.

So, yes. We have to care.

Once you understand what strategy is and apply it to your growing business, you should be able to develop a very simple and clear strategy statement. Much like “Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.” 

Having the ability to express a clear and differentiated statement and support it with a strong core culture that will deliver, is vital to the successful growth of your company.

 Simply stated, strategy is defined as a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.

Better still, strategy is where you will focus your efforts to achieve your goals. It’s the specific course of actions that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.

Great! So, how does that translate to your company’s growth and success?

To work that out, you have to understand certain elements that are needed to create your strategy.


I’ve seen too many people get caught up in what their Vision Statement ‘should be’. Put simply, your ‘Vision’ is what sort of long-term change you want to see/influence/create. If you close your eyes and think ahead 10 years, what is it that you are truly trying to accomplish?

Jim Collins called it the ‘BHAG’ or the Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  The big, scary goal that when you tell someone, they look at you like you have three heads.

A computer in every household? A world where exercise is part of everyone’s daily life? Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less?  What is the big thing you are trying to accomplish? That is your Vision or your BHAG.


Some call this ‘mission’. I’ve seen a lot of people get hung up on this one too. It can a little intimidating in the early stages of a company to grasp the fact that you really do have a mission and its probably more than ‘let’s make a butt load of money’.

Your Purpose gives your company heart. Its why what you do matters. It’s the difference you’re making in the world.

If your Purpose isn’t more than just making money (although making money is very good) it will be difficult to get your team enthused and eager to rally behind it. If you can get your people emotionally attached to your Purpose they will become more interested in making it happen.


Goals are the long-term outcomes that move your closer to achieving your purpose and your vision.

There are plenty of acronyms to ensure the proper use of goals such as SMART and SMARTER, however the general idea is to insure they aren’t general, vague and imprecise. Accountability, follow-up and results are the name of the game with goals. Insuring they are time-bound, measurable and specific will improve success.

Typically, with strategy, goals are 1-3 years out. Then you have a BHAG (Big Harry Audacious Goal) which is your 10-year goal. To further ensure success with goals, I always recommend working in a 90-day world. Break down the larger goals into 90-day actions/goals/rocks. Consistently achieving steps towards your larger goals, every 90 days will not only consistently move you closer towards your goal, but it will keep you motivated from the sense of achievement you feel accomplishing your 90-day goals.

Over the next two months I will be reviewing everything that goes into creating a successful strategy and how to implement it.

With these tools, any business can clear overwhelm of your day, create a growth plan, and successfully implement it. When you are strategic about your business you can improve profit - value as well as cash.

Stay tuned for more.



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