Excuse me sir,” Alice enquires, “could you tell me which road to take?”
Wisely the cat asks, “Where are you going?”
Somewhat dismayed, Alice responds, “Oh, I don’t know where I’m going sir.”
“Well,” replied the cat, “if you don’t know where you are going, it really doesn’t matter which road you take.”
Whether working for a large corporate, or as an entrepreneur running a start-up, we need to understand where we are going. Note the word ‘we’.
We need answers to the questions that begin with ‘why’. Why are we doing this? Why should I care? Once we have that, we can start thinking about the what and the how.
We need a vision, which needs to
be aspirational, ambitious, and stretchy;
be flexible enough that many can feel part of it;
act as a basis for decisions at the forks in the road;
be believable and achievable.
It does not have to be grand and contain fancy words, it just needs to make sense to the people you are trying to bring along on your journey.
Which brings us to the matter of strategy.
So you have an end game in mind. Great. How are we going to get there?
The strategy is the narrative that explains, based on how we believe we are going to use what we are particularly good at, to go about fulfilling our vision. It is the framework and plan that gets us from A to B to Z, that explains the challenges and how we intend to solve them.
A good strategy lays out the map of the land and gives proactive indications and high level rules for how we are expected to behave collectively in the longer term in order to succeed.
How we make choices at the forks in the road. What mix of features across products and services, physical and digital, cost and pricing, hiring and firing, DIY and outsourcing, financing and partnering, and so on we should prioritise.
The real key to success is in execution. But it helps to have a great vision and a good strategy.
No More Ifs Or Buts.