We ran our 5 Steps To Strategy Heaven course yesterday for a senior team at a PR agency and as ever, the session was a roaring success. Whoever the audience is the word strategy has the power to intimidate & confuse, when in reality it can be broken down into a series of manageable stages. It’s another one of those skills that is often left to chance with people rising through the ranks into management expected to absorb how to do it by osmosis. We devised this course following demand from our clients and the belief that whilst it’s tempting to dive straight into creative work the ideas won’t stack up without the rigorous thinking & interrogation of the problem. We break the process down into 5 steps:
- 1. Interrogating the challenge / brief
- 2. Gathering information
- 3. Review & refine the information
- 4. Devise your strategy
- 5. Justify your strategy
Often the answer is a question.
Here are some of our favourite questions to get started.
What is the big picture?
Do you have the right information? Enough? Too much? What’s important?
What assumptions are you making?
About the audience
Who do you want to talk to?
What exactly do you want them to do?
What is holding them back at the moment?
How can you motivate them?
If you can establish wade through the Niagra Falls of data and information you have and establish what the task to be done is in one sentence then this can act as the skeleton or framework for your whole argument or pitch. You can take this one stage further and use the One Word Technique from Michael Michalko’s, Thinkertoys.
Write down problem in one sentence. Reduce it to one word.
What other words might be used? Look for synonyms in the thesaurus. Choose one.
What do you mean by that word? Your personal definition. What’s the dictionary definition? Does this add anything? Within the dictionary definition is there another word that better describes the essence of your problem? If so, repeat. Ask your colleagues to do the same thing. See what your collection of words is. Sanity check with your resource group and use this as a springboard for a creative session.
If you’re interested in developing your team’s strategic capabilities please give us a buzz.