Think of Strategy as Daily Small Steps

One thing that frustrates me about the word “strategy” is that it implies something big. Sure, strategy is both important and broad reaching, but it is really nothing more than a series of steps.

It’s the things you do (and don’t do) on a daily basis that, in aggregate, impact your team’s culture, productivity, and business model. So, when it comes to executing “strategy,” we should really just dive into the details of our day-to-day.

Herein lies the problem: The more efficient we are, the more difficult it is to change the steps we take every day.  Even with a big bold strategy in mind, we’re hesitant to take any unfamiliar steps in our workflow. For every decision we cite precedence, always opting for a familiar step – thus failing to charter new territory.

It is hard to take new steps because each one defies some rule or precedent for how we make day-to-day decisions.

Leaders of change recognize that a great strategy is made up of many steps that, on their own, don’t make sense and often break conventional norms. To innovate, you must advocate for and preserve the unordinary steps required to create something extraordinary.

The lesson here is that the “big idea” is the easy part. Large companies usually know where they need to go to stay on the cutting edge, but they don’t have the fortitude and flexibility to take the right steps to get there. The necessary steps are diverted by the usual steps, otherwise known as protocol. When you only take familiar steps, you don’t travel far.

A great strategy is made up of many steps that, on their own, don’t make sense.

As you seek to implement a bold new strategy, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Eliminate the bias towards “precedent” when you’re building something new. New strategy warrants unprecedented action.
  • Don’t let the new steps you must take be overridden by legal, branding, impatience, or other logistics. While it may seem easy to give in on the little details, any little turn off the road points you in a new direction. The only thing that should override strategy is better strategy.
  • Keep reiterating “why” you’re pursuing change, and the consequences for not changing. Sometimes, especially in established businesses, the consequences of not changing are more motivating than the goals.
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Scott Belsky

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A Checklist for Making Ideas Happen

To help take a look back at 2012, we rounded up our most popular features, essays, 99U Conference talks, and tweets. We hope it gives you a chance to discover (and rediscover) content from throughout the year while providing the spark needed to start 2013 off right.

1. The Power of Negative Thinking

Pop psychology tells us we can’t go wrong with positive thinking. But new studies show that taking account of our obstacles is essential to success.

The gurus claimed these positive images would galvanize your determination. They said you could use the power of positive thinking to will success to happen. But then some important research came along that muddied the rosy picture.

2. Test Your Creativity: 5 Classic Creative Challenges

How creative are you? Find out by taking a few quick tests that psychologists have been using to study creativity for decades.

While creativity “testing” is far from an exact science, trying your mettle at these challenges could yield insight into when, where, and how you’re most creative. Or maybe it’ll just be fun.

3. The 5 Types of Work That Fill Your Day

What type of work are you doing right now? Reactionary work? Problem-solving work? Insecurity work? A look at how to manage your work energy smartly.

All work is not created equal. Try working with an awareness of the type of work you’re doing, and how it’s helping (or limiting) your progress.

4. Why Boredom Is Good for Your Creativity

Why does boredom always emerge just as you’re about to get in gear on a creative project?

On the other side of boredom is the most exciting experience you can have as a creator – the state of being fired up and discovering new possibilities beyond anything you could have imagined before you sat down to work. 

5. How Rejection Breeds Creativity

With a few small changes in your mindset, you can turn rejection into a dramatic boost for your motivation and focus.

While it is never a comfortable experience, the feelings of rejection can actually help us access our more creative selves. Free from the expectations of group norms, we can push the limits of novelty.

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Josh — 05/02/17 4:29 am

Loving the articles in the site :) I am find great encouragement in the practical focuses

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Using Repetition to Reiterate What’s Important

A CEO of a large start-up recently made this comment:

I used to assume everyone on the team knew the grand vision, but an informal survey revealed the opposite. New employees had no idea what we were aiming for in the long term…”

Clearly, he felt he was falling short of his leadership responsibility to clearly articulate goals.

It left me thinking: in my efforts not to be too repetitive, am I failing to communicate effectively? Sure, we have a major team offsite that covers long-term strategy once per year. But in every other meeting, I am focused on goals for the month and other team issues. Our roadmap is accessible to the entire team, and I’ve worked with at least half of these folks for many years. I always assume the team knows where we are headed.

It’s becoming more clear to me: Effective leaders (and brands) repeat themselves to the point where they can barely stand to hear themselves any more. When it comes to setting strategy, they make a few simple points multiple times. And they compromise on “new messaging” to reiterate what is most important.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott Belsky

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.