Is it a strategy?

I’ve often asked this question myself.

Some words get used so much that they loose their meaning.

Writing about ROI, Tom Roach explained that “people who pepper their communication with talk of ROI usually don’t actually mean ROI in the correct definition of the term, and use it to mean ‘results’.”

The words strategy or strategic are the same.

We use them to describe everything that’s ‘important’.

Say something is strategic and no further explanation is required.

That’s a cop out.

Strategy means solving wicked problems.

You don’t need a strategy to change a light bulb, but you will need one to start producing light bulbs on scale.

The essence of strategy is a clear identification and articulation of a wicked problem.

There’s a simple 3-step test to checklist1 to test if what you’re looking at is a strategy or not:

  1. Does is clearly describe the problem?
  2. Does it use diagnosis and analysis to explain cause and effect?
  3. Does it present a clear set of choices and actions needed to fix the problem?

If any of of these three is missing then it’s not a strategy, yet.

  1. Richard Rumelt, The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists. ↩︎