A Beautiful Strategy - Intrafocus

A beautiful strategy – “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results” Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965). In a box in my attic I have a 25th January 1965 copy of the Daily Express. The front page is taken up by a full face portrait of Sir Winston Churchill who died on January 24th 1965. As a very small boy I had no understanding whatsoever as to what was so important about this man but nevertheless I was fascinated by the reaction of the adults around me. Sir Winston was, and still is a man to be quoted. However, in 46 years we seemingly have still not learnt the lesson he so cleverly articulated.

For many companies it is ‘that time of the year’ again. We are ending one financial year and beginning another and will use the ‘lull’ to go off-site with our executive teams to look at our next three years strategy. We will brain-storm and mind-map, yellow stickies will fly across walls and flip charts will be created and dutifully recorded. We will present our strategic initiatives and make promises to each other to to report back on progress and include strategic thinking in our monthly business-as-usual reporting.

All of this will be done with the very best intentions and 100% commitment. That is, until we get back to our day jobs and events overtake us. The great ideas we had will fall to the bottom of the agenda and eventually fall off the agenda altogether. A very cynical view I know, but I guarantee anyone reading this will be cringing a little and thinking yep, that tends to be the way it happens.

Our beautiful strategies get put on the shelf and for many good reasons are never implemented, they are never measured and therefore we never look at the results. So what is the answer? It is so blindingly simple we rarely do it. Do Less! Focus on a small number of things that can get done, it is a simple law of diminishing returns, in strategy if you plan to do three things you will achieve three things, if you plan to do six things you will achieve two, if you plan to do ten things you will get nothing done at all. You cannot boil the ocean, you can make a cup of tea! For more information check out the Intrafocus resource pages.

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