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The 5 Critical Questions Your Strategy Must Answer


TRANSCRIPT AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED [00:00:00] Hey, Hey. So last week we talked about what a strategy actually is and why you need to have one. And today we're going to put all of that into action. And I'm going to ask you five critical questions that your strategy should be answering, it's a way for you to evaluate how complete and effective your strategy might be right now. And to make those really easy for you to remember. Each of the questions is one of the five W's. So let's start with why really this is at the heart of your strategy because it tells you why you're moving in that direction. What are you aiming for? What is the vision for your business? And that then provides the focal point that everything else can wrap around so that your team know where they're going so that you know, where you're going to the decisions and plans are made with that in mind. It really is kind of the linchpin of the strategy, ? What's that saying if you don't know where you're going, how will you know, when you get there? The why is the, how will you know, when you get there? What you want to ask yourself about your strategy is. Why have you built this strategy? Is it super clear where you're trying to get to with the strategy? Okay, next up. I want you to ask yourselves who, who are the stakeholders in this strategy? You want to think about not just who's executing it. So you and the team. But who does it serve? Who's affected by it. Who else needs to buy into them, buying into your strategy? This means, we're talking about your customers, your employees, people you buy for people in your life who are impacted by your business. You want to make sure that you're considering the impact of your strategy from all angles? By who might be able to help you. And who might be impacted by this strategy. Next up is the what, what is the goal of your strategy? What does success look like? What are your objectives? Are they clear? Are they measurable? Do they align with that? Why all they going to get you to that overall vision? What is the point of [00:02:00] this strategy? What are you trying to do with your business? Okay, next up. We want to ask when. So when are we going to execute this strategy? What's the timeline for different parts of the strategy? You know, that expression timing is everything. So when will you launch. When will you. Shut that part down. When will, you know, to pivot. When will you be ready to execute a particular part of the strategy? So strategies tend to be longer term. You might have a five or 10 year view. It doesn't mean that what you plan to do in five years time. You're ready to do right now. So when will you be ready to execute on that particular piece of the strategy? Okay. So let's, let's revisit quickly. You've got your, why, which is your purpose. You've got your, who, who can help and who's impacted. You've got your, what, what are your goals? And then you've got, when, when will you execute? So the timeline for your strategy. And finally, we want to ask where. Where does your business fit into the bigger business industry market? World ecosystem. Where do you set? Where are you different? Where are you blending too much. Where do you have competitors? Where do you have opportunities? What is the arena look like that you are operating in? Now, remember that a strategy is more at that high level with strategic thinking. We're not thinking tactics or tools or tasks. While we've looked at the five W's. The hell, which is often one of those questions that we ask, you know, when, where, who, where, how. That will come. And your plan, your plan is how. How will you put that? Strategy. Into motion. How will you implement it? How will you measure progress? How will you motivate the team? This is all in your, how in your plan. So strategically, we're trying to get a view of the business. And the path that we want to take, and then we build the plan as to how to do that. And that's why plans tend to be a year or 90 days. They're [00:04:00] much more tangible and action focused. Whereas the strategy is more of a guide to pull everyone in the right direction. last Week, we also talked about having your overall business strategy and then your departmental strategy. Now in the same way that you've got those five W's for your overall strategy, you can have that for your departmental level strategies as well. If you think about why each department has their own strategic purpose. And all of those summed up together should be matching the direction of the company. Right? That's the whole point of having the purpose that everybody knows everybody's behind the same mission. But When we think about the other four questions, those are going to be much more specific to the department. So who are our stakeholders? Each department's got a different stakeholder. HR is going to have the employees or stakeholders. Marketing is going to have prospects of stakeholders. Finance is going to have the shareholders as stakeholders. So everybody's focus will be slightly different, but you still need that. Who question? Who can help and who is impacted? Then from a goals perspective, again, Matt giant goal. What are we trying to achieve at a business level? She'll be broken down into what is the goal for each department so that the, some of those objectives. Becomes the, what are we trying to achieve in the overall strategy? So if the overall objective of the company is to grow. The objective of marketing might be brand recognition. Be objective for sales might be increasing conversions. The objective operations could be. Improving customer. Satisfaction. So it's still the same question, but it's just a departmental specific onset. If you think about when timelines are very specific as well. Finance team to work on monthly, quarterly, annual timelines marketing. Product launches ops might be tied to delivery. You know, if you're running a group program and you have to deliver every eight weeks. So again, when does everything need to get executed is still the question, but it just becomes more specific in the [00:06:00] department's version of the overall strategy question. Then our final w is where. So where are we operating? Marketing is going to have that competitive landscape that they're thinking about finance is going to have more of a regulatory arena that they're operating in. Operations might have more of a tech based arena that they're considering. Again, it's that same question. Where does this all fit in? But just under departmental level. So the idea is that you have the five W's, which are easy for you to remember. And when you're thinking strategically, you can also think through them in a decision, you can think. Why am I doing this? Who will be impacted. What's the goal. When is this going to happen? And where is this going to happen? It helps to just pull you out of the weeds of I'm going to post this on social media in order for this to happen. And pulls you into that strategic thinking. In a way that's super easy for you to remember. Start practicing that in your day to day so that we don't make those decisions in the weeds. We first pull back and we make the strategic decision that our business needs us to make as its leader.

All strategies are not created equal. Make sure yours is clear and effective by answering these 5 questions.

In This Episode

  • The 5 questions your strategy needs to answer
  • How to apply these at the departmental level
  • How to use these questions to make a difference in your business right now


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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this podcast episode and article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or episode. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.