Principles for Strategy

To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail.

But having a strategy is no guarantee of success. External factors are always changing and new information becomes available and the environment changes.

So what makes a successful strategy? Below are three principles that underlie a good strategy.

Finger PointingKeep it Simple

A good strategy will have a very simple objective at its core, that can be described in a single sentence and instantly understood, such as Steve Jobs’s ‘1000 songs in your pocket’ for the iPad. By having a clear centre, the strategy will be solidly grounded and anchored to this concept.

Avoid assumptions

The biggest pitfall of strategies is making incorrect assumptions. When developing a strategy, you should question everything you think you know and make sure you get solid facts. Even better, make sure your strategy relies on as few assumptions as possible – that way it will be as strong as it can be. For more on this, look up ‘Occam’s Razor’.

Be flexible

It’s a tricky balance to know when to stick to your guns and when to change tactics. But this is one of the most important skills you can have as a strategist, as no plans survive first contact intact. The strategy should have flexibility built into it, with some of the most likely changes in scenario accounted for.

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