Strategy First, Implementation Second


It sounds obvious but think for a second…

I am hearing this invariably: “I am working flat out at the moment, but I really need a strategy”…  

So, can I ask you, what are you currently doing and why are you doing it?

Stop for a few minutes and take a notepad and pen to get your new draft strategy started:

0. What’s the bug?

Are you clear about the “problem” you are still trying to solve. What are the facts (that people have studies, spent months, if not years, collecting data about, why is it still unsolved,  what has been overlooked?

1. Vision: define success

Define the top 4 conditions and/or principles to your success:

Start your sentence with: “To be able to see this success we need: 1,2,3,4…

You can use story boards, or other story telling processes. If everyone in your team can share their translation of what the vision is, you will have sense of people’s most important values.

2. Do some backcasting

Start with the end in mind and work backwards (as if you were playing a film backwards) to establish the steps and prioritize your actions to successfully achieve the vision. Keep it simple.

3. Build scenarios

Build scenarios according to different contexts.

You might want to build a strategy to equip your organisation to tackle the issue you have identified, fro a different perspective.

You can:

  • Identify the current, major issues facing the organization. Write down 3-5 major issues.
  • If it is about funding, stretch your ideas: talk about what is it you want to buy that you still haven’t got now.
  • Brainstorm ideas to address each major issue. The ideas don’t have to perfect – it’s important for now to identify at least a reasonable approach to address each issue.
  • The issues and ideas are usually short-range, for example, for 9-12 months into the future.
  • You can do that on an on-going basis.
  • Focus on the learning, less on the method.

4. When you have the scenarios and the ideas to solve them. Add the actions.

  • Make sure to include clear objectives, activities and expectations.
  • All of them must be meeting your vision.
  • They must also include a way you are going to share or present these actions to your stakeholders.
  • Finally, include in your story board something that tells me how it’s going to be financed.

5. Add Tools

Look at your resources, not what you don’t have but what you DO have, think also about the resources that members in your network have. It can be ideas, know how, hardware, space…

Assume that you are working from a position of abundance.

Don’t forget to ask for help, leased items, in kind support! (read the other #toolkit posts on this blog!)

6. Promote

Explain how you are going to promote each step of the journey to your stakeholders.

Give a role to your stakeholders with a specific message to diffuse, or a specific information to bring back to you.

7. Add value: challenge!!

Create a product/service that would generate revenue for your organisation whilst adding value to its users.

Think creatively now.

  • What can you sell?
  • What is your expertise?
  • Who buys this?
  • What do you need to get rid of?
  • What do you need to keep?
  • What do you need to do differently?
  • What are trends that you need to be aware of?
  • Who are the best people to have on board?
  • When do you merge with another organisations
  • When is it better to stop (exit strategy)
  • (Your suggestions…)

Good luck and ask your questions!

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