“Can you say your strategy in 5 words or less?”

Strategy Love this question. Luv this challenge. This is your opportunity. Most companies this quarter are in some sort of strategic planning for fiscal 2015 and beyond. I challenge each and everyone of you to say your strategy in one-phrase or one sentence. If you cannot do this today – no big deal. Saying your strategy clearly and simply is hard. I am not going to lie. It takes time, practice and continuous focus.

Take the time to write your strategy down. Whether it is a paragraph or ten pages – write it down. Just “Gut it Out”. Do not write down your business plan but do write down your strategy. As Michael Porter, defines Strategy, in his HBR article “What is Strategy”, as “is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities”.

Write down your differentiating activities. Map them out. Explain it to someone else. Do this often. Everytime you do – the story – your strategy will be more succinct – clearer. Keep doing this until you can say your strategy in 5 words or one phrase. This one phrase should be easy to remember by your Board Members and team members alike. It will be memorable.

From the HBR article by David J. Collis and Michael G. Rukstad – Can you Say What Your Strategy Is? – this quote sums it up: “It is a dirty little secret that most executives don’t actually know what all the elements of a strategy statement are, which makes it impossible for them to develop one. With a clear definition, though, two things happen: First, formulation becomes infinitely easier because executives know what they are trying to create. Second, implementation becomes much simpler because the strategy’s essence can be readily communicated and easily internalized by everyone in the organization.”

Your action today – write down you strategy. Take as many pages as you need. But “Gut it Out” now. Share it and talk about it, every day, until you have this down to one phrase that is clearly and simply understood.

Recommended Book: Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance by Michael Porter BUY BOOK