A.G. Lafley, former head of global consumer giant, P&G, put forth a 5 step template on how to think about strategy in your organization.
It’s a solid foundation for those of us in the strategy space to start from because it gets at the heart of what strategy is all about. Identifying opportunities, understanding the trade offs and ultimately making choices.
If you haven’t already seen this (it’s not new) here are the five questions that he frames up as critical when thinking about strategy:
1. What is your winning aspiration?
2. Where will you play?
3. How will you win?
4. Which capabilities must be in place?
5. What management systems are required?
What’s important to note here is that these questions transcend industries, organizations, functional groups and roles. You can apply them anywhere to help you think about your go forward strategy.
They are extremely helpful as a baseline when you’re considering a new acquisition. If done correctly, the answers to these questions help you set the context for the what and the how, and help you to look for alignment between your organizational mission and your strategic intent.
This line of questioning is good due diligence prior to moving forward on a strategic initiative. During the course of your planning don’t be too eager to jump past question number one. This question sets the foundation for whether or not you are aligned to the corporate mission if you are to make this move.
Your decision to go forward should be based on how closely you align to the corporate mission and whether or not this move would pull you too far away from that mission. If you stray too far outside of alignment, your trade offs will inevitably sink your ambitions.
Setting strategy is a go slow to move faster proposition. To do it right, you need to bring the right level of analysis to each of the five questions, and you need to be prepared to alter course along the way.
Don’t be afraid of new insights but don’t lose sight of your corporate mission, ever.