Five reasons why strategy is vital

Somerset Maugham once said, “We live in uncertain times.” As we emerge from the pandemic it is essential that leaders plot a clear path ahead. Strategy has never been so important.

Oxford Languages defines strategy as follows, “A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.” There’s so much value in that definition, which we will unpack in our blog below. So here are our five reasons why strategy is important.

1. Clarity on your current position

When Alex Ferguson started as the new Manchester United manager in 1986, the club were 19th in the league. They had only won 12 of their previous 40 games.

His first step was to clarify their position. Even though they were no longer competitive, he recognised the amazing potential of their youth team and started to build for the future.

After looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition, he also realised he needed to change their training methods to achieve success.

The rest is history. Alex Ferguson and his team lifted over 30 trophies in 26 years.

The business landscape is equally competitive, yet the large majority of companies and charities behave as if they are operating in isolation.

You can define your current position by answering these questions:

  • Do you understand your market?
  • Do you understand what makes your organisation different?
  • Have you carried out competitor analysis?
  • Do you understand what needs to change?

The following quote from Henry Mintzberg, sums up the power of clarifying your position:

“Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite: it’s the starting point.”

2. The power of goals

“A Harvard Business Study found that the 3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation”. (Forbes, 2017).

If you set clear goals, you are able to visualise and achieve success. This helps trigger positive behaviours, even during rough patches, by reminding yourself about the big inspiring goal.  

We recommend you set clear goals that are measurable and achievable. It will also help to have clear timeframes that you regularly review.

The importance of setting the right goals goals is beautifully made by Kinichi Ohmae, “Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”

3. Identifies key activities

One of the most effective ways to be successful is to understand which activities matter most to achieve your purpose.

We recommend you break down these activities into bite-sized chunks that highlight the key actions on which you want to focus. These should include: how to build your offer, how to reach your target audience, and how to manage and grow partnerships that deliver revenue.

Muhammad Ali, summed up the importance of identifying important activities, even when they are not the most enjoyable, when he said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said… don’t quit, suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

4. Empowers your team

Having a clear strategy empowers your colleagues by giving them permission to take actions in line with the identified goals. An empowered team feels more confident and focused and results are more rewarding.

The following quote from McKinsey & Company sums it up perfectly, “Empowerment is much easier if the strategic intent of the organisation is clear. If everyone knows what the organisation is trying to achieve, teams can pull in the same direction without requiring the leader’s constant supervision.”

5. Brings colleagues with you

Finally, and most importantly, having a clear strategy gives your colleagues a big goal to rally around. Colleagues who can your vision will feel more engaged and motivated to give their best. This is because they see their role in the long-term plan.

The result? A loyal and committed workforce who are proud to work for their organisation.  

The following quote from Helen Keller brilliantly sums up the importance of a united team:

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  

We hope this blog gives you the inspiration and insight to write your own strategy. You can also join us on our Corporate Partnerships Strategy Training starting on 22nd September. Click here to find out more and book your place.

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