Separate “what” you’re trying to do from “how” you’ll do it. Planning too soon kills strategy. Planning is bottom up; strategy is top down, so “strategic planning” is really an oxymoron.
However, realize strategy usually fails in the implementation, not the formulation, so later develop a plan for implementation and tactics.
Know that strategy is about change. It is about exploiting the unexpected, making the most of opportunities, and innovating your way to success, not about corrective actions.
Changes to the status quo demand clear direction and deliberate choices, based on the driving forces of the organization. Strategy exists not to minimize risk but to encourage prudent risks.
Strategy should be periodic, situational, and episodic, not annual. Look at it constantly, not sequentially.
Embrace ambiguity. It is the norm, and only by living in harmony with it can you lead others through it. Executives are paid to absorb ambiguity, but they must hold others to concrete accountabilities.
The key to a successful strategy is making enough good decisions, not avoiding mistakes. Successful organizations do make mistakes; they just make more great decisions.
Strategy works best when each person on the team has a stake in the ground and when each initiative is related to one of those stakes.
Understand, and help others understand, that strategy hurts. It’s about creative destruction of the status quo.
The CEO and executive team should set the strategy for the company. The role of the Board of Directors is then to give approval and input. Leaders who have P & L responsibilities should conduct separate strategy formulation sessions of their own.