Located in: Leadership

What is Strategy?

Strategy is a set of choices on what your organization will and will not do. A great approach and way to think about strategy are Even over statements, these types of statements clearly define the tradeoff you are making.

The core of strategy work is always the same: discovering the critical factors in a situation and designing a way of coordinating and focusing actions to deal with those factors. – Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt

Think of strategy as a compass not a map. This compass helps your organization choose which fork to take on a path.

Strategies are not:

  • Tactics - A tactic is a very specific approach to solving a problem. See Thinking Strategic vs Tactical for more differences.
  • Goals - Goals are the outcome you want, strategies are how you will achieve it.
  • Visions - Visions define potential end states and help align the teams, but they do not define the approach or how to make decisions. As Marty Cagan wrote in Inspired: "The difference between vision and strategy is analogous to the difference between good leadership and good management. Leadership inspires and sets the direction, and management helps get us there."
  • Ideas - Your strategy should call out the opportunities but not define the ideas. See Opportunities not ideas for more.
  • Being the best or better - Your strategy should not be "to be the best in X", instead it needs to be how you will differentiate in the market and create unique value for your customers.
  • Best practices - You're competitors are following best practices, you need to differentiate yourself.

Strategy is not just a plan to win — it’s a process. Making strategy and executing strategy are two sides of the same coin. You don’t have a strategy. You do strategy. – Andrew Bartholomew [1]

Communicating Strategy


As mentioned in Good Strategy Bad Strategy, you should avoid templated strategies. These frameworks are meant to help guide you through various processes, it's not just about filling in the blanks.

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