Before we answer that question, let's take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Poor strategy comes in many forms. The main reason for this is that delivering an insightful, transformational strategy is difficult; it requires objectivity, diligence, confidence, clear decision-making, the ability to change tack when necessary, an honest appraisal of the organisation's challenges and a great deal of effort.
Poor strategy, in comparison, is easy, and therefore ubiquitous. It comes in many guises, the most common varieties of which could be labelled:
- Stretch targets
- Verbal nonsense
- To-do lists
- Wish lists
- Spreadsheets and hockey sticks.
Some of the above are welcome as individual components of a good strategy, but they are not stand-alone strategies in their own right. Let's take a little peek at each one.
‘Describing a destination is no substitute for developing a comprehensive roadmap for how an organisation will achieve its stated goals.’
I adapted this quote ever so slightly from Richard Rumelt's excellent book Good Strategy Bad Strategy. The actual quote is an analysis of the Bush Administration National Security Strategy during a Seminar on US National Security Strategy in Washington DC 2007. Rumelt's actual quotation is perhaps even more telling on a number of levels:
‘The articulation of a national vision that describes America’s purpose in the post-September 11th world is useful – indeed, it is vital ...