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Before you hold that strategy meeting, read this

By Emily McCutcheon

The business landscape changes more quickly than ever now, and we are facing massive changes in the demographics of the workforce as well as disruption. So what is it that makes some leaders so much more successful than others?

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How many times have you gone to a strategy meeting and had people listlessly sit there, unfocused or distracted? How often, at the end of one of these strategy meetings, have you seen everyone just agree with whatever the most senior person in the room suggests?

That is a terrible way to approach strategy – if you want to win.

Strategy is one of the most important tasks of any employee in an organization, no matter his or her job description. Strategy is about choice. It’s about explicitly choosing what you will do and not do, not just agreeing with someone because they’re in charge. If you’re just going along to get along you’re missing out on strategic value.

A winning strategy is something you think about all year, every day. It’s not something you can decide at a single meeting or even in one week.  You either tick strategy off your to-do list the same way you do expense reports, or you actively choose to make strategy a real key priority throughout the year.

Strategy comes from every level of the organization

Employees at every level of the organization have a great deal to contribute to your strategy. They see and hear things on the front lines that no one in the C-suite does, and that’s valuable intelligence that can make a huge difference in your strategy. Engaging the entire organization not only helps you access that data, but it makes sure that everyone on your team is committed to winning, because it’s their strategy, too.

Strategy needs to be specific

Before setting out to create your strategy you need to be able to answer these five questions:

  1. What is our winning aspiration?
  2. Where will we play?
  3. How will we win?
  4. What capabilities must be in place?
  5. What management systems are required?
These five questions are part of the Playing to Win strategic framework, which can be applied to any real-world challenge. Leading organizations around the world use the Playing to Win framework to help them develop the strategic capability to make better strategic choices and to guide the process of creating strategy.

Before your organization starts its strategic planning, get everyone on the same page. Rotman offers a one-day Playing to Win workshop, blending hands-on experience, reflection, and group discussions.

 

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