We make creating business or marketing strategy so complicated that it’s misunderstood and ends up stuck in a PowerPoint file never to be seen again and certainly not executed.
I have written before about Traction and its simple and powerful business system, so I was excited to find a new strategic planning process that’s as basic as five questions.
Lafley had two stints as Procter & Gamble CEO. Martin is the former Dean of the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. Martin is a successful author and became Lafley’s trusted advisor.
These leading thinkers organize strategy into five core questions that scale down to the individual and the team, and scale up to a complex, global, multi-billion-dollar organization.
The questions are not linear. Answering one will influence the answer to the one that follows and likely to the one that preceded it. It is the process of working back and forth between them, creating alignment between your answers, which is the strength of this process.
The power of these questions is that they force great planning:
- What is our winning aspiration? Framing the choice as “winning” rules out mediocrity as an option. If you want to win, you need to know what game you’re playing and with (and against) whom. What impact do you have in and on the world?
- Where will we play? “Boiling the ocean” is rarely successful. Choosing a sector, geography, product, channel and customer allows you to focus your resources.
- How will we win? What’s the defendable difference that will open the gap between you and the others?
- What capabilities must be in place? This isn’t just what you need to do, how will it be calm and stay a strength?
- What management systems are required? It’s easy enough to measure stuff. It’s much harder to figure out what you want to measure that matters.
Pretty simple and powerful stuff, right?
What questions and systems are you using to drive your business growth?
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