Focus on strategic initiatives, because the sum of your initiatives is your strategy. This is a gem a learned from Victor Tang:
Strategy = Sum of Initiatives
Strategy is often confused with wishful thinking. This is because strategy is behaviorally based. Our strategy is what we do, not what we say we will do. It’s brilliant!
“Our strategy is to reduce expenses by 1%.” Well, that’s not a strategy. As it stands it is just wishful thinking. However you could make it a strategy by implementing an initiative like “eliminating all first-class airline travel on domestic flights – everyone will now fly coach-class”. Now that is a specific change of behavior and now part of your strategy.
I like it because clearly identifying key initiatives increases the probability of success. These are then easy to communicate and guide the establishment of individual goals and objectives that bring the whole organization into alignment.
I also like it because it removes any mystery or magic about strategic planning when we understand that it is simply identifying and deploying new business initiatives to grow revenues.
Strategic initiatives involve the whole organization
Too often business plans get shelved because they are not grounded in reality. But when when the business plan is viewed as the collection of individual initiatives that employees are focused on, and specific new policies that are adopted, these strategic initiatives focus the whole organization on achieving common goals.