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Posted on June 16, 2021

I often start executive presentations about strategy with a simple question – “what is strategy?” The most common answer, which I’d estimate that about 75% of executives give, is that strategy is a process–a set of steps to build a plan that will achieve the desired objectives.

And while this answer is common, it’s also dead wrong.

Too many business leaders today conflate strategic planning and strategy. Strategy is not strategic planning, and strategic planning is not strategy.

So–“what is strategy?” Simply stated, a strategy is using company assets to build a high impact winning position. It’s something that you purpose to do to bring about the desired future. Strategy determines how you allocate resources, define markets and deliver customer value. Strategy answers the big questions–what do we do? where do we do it? and for whom?

Strategic planning is the process used to proactively assess, develop and execute compelling strategies. Strategic planning, like all good processes, is a roadmap of steps followed in sequential order to deliver the desired outcome. In this case, the desired outcome of strategic planning is a compelling strategy. So, while strategic planning is important and can be extremely productive in the life of a business, it is nearly a complete waste of time if it fails to deliver a compelling strategy.

Bad strategic planning becomes an exercise of checking boxes and rubber stamping the status quo.

Good strategic planning, like what we do at Simply StrategicTM, leads to strategies that create a sustainable competitive advantage for years to come.

Get strategy by using good strategic planning.