WORDS Simon Kemp
In his seminal treatise, The Art of War, Sun Tzu notes that “…the wise strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won.”
BUT WHAT MAKES A WINNING STRATEGY?
It focuses on the end, not the means. Strategy is not just about finding an answer; it’s about finding the most appropriate answer – the most efficient and effective route to get from where you are now, to where you want to be.
IT’S MORE ABOUT QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
Improving an existing answer delivers diminishing returns with each iteration. The best way to deliver revolutionary results is to change the question.
IT PRIORITIZES EFFORTS
There’s a big difference between what you could do and what you should do. Focus your resources at the point of maximum leverage to deliver disproportionate returns.
IT EMPLOYS THE ART OF SACRIFICE
Strategy helps you identify when to give up something good for something even better.
IT SEES THE FOREST AND THE TREES
Effective strategies deliver synergies – when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A key part of this is recognizing that the long term is made up of a series of inter-dependent shorter terms.
IT BENDS IN THE WIND
There’s never only one right answer – what worked before may not always work in the future. Monitor your progress, and evolve to changes you encounter along the way.
IT IS MORE ABOUT THE FUTURE THAN THE PRESENT
Strategy is all about looking before you leap.
IT HARNESSES COMMON SENSE
The best strategies are rarely complex; simple logic and reason are your allies.
IT EMPHASIZES THE WHY OVER THE WHAT
True strategy addresses root causes, not just symptoms.
Never stop at the first plausible answer, but acknowledge that it may still turn out to be the best.
Always aim for perfection, but accept that you’ll never achieve it.
Simon Kemp is a marketing strategist specializing in the future of digital who has developed brand and marketing strategies for many of the world’s most admired companies, including Unilever, Google, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Diageo. His marketing books, guides, videos, and reports have been read and watched by millions of people in more than 100 countries around the world. He is the founder of Kepios, a strategy consultancy that helps business leaders and marketers make sense of the future, especially digital and connected devices, as well as the global consultant for We Are Social, and Head of Asia Pacific for Contagious’s consulting division, Insider.