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Can You Say What Your Strategy Is? A Free Guide to Storyboard Your Strategy.

By Heyden Enochson

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Can you summarize your company’s strategy? If so, would your colleagues put it the same way? Few can answer that question affirmatively.

Many organizations fail to appreciate the necessity of a simple, clear, succinct strategy summary that everyone can internalize and use as a guide for making choices.

Three components of a good strategy summary are vision, scope and advantage.

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The Strategic Sweet Spot

The strategic sweet spot of a company is the intersection between customer needs and your company’s distinct capabilities ort offerings that your competitors do not offer.

Vision

Your vision defines the end your strategy is designed to achieve. If your firm’s strategy [and vision] can be applied to any other firm, you might consider revisiting your vision and approach. It needs to be unique and differentiated. Period.

A vision like, “Maximize shareholder value over the next several years,” is too generic to set your team up for success. A clearer vision might be, “Maximize shareholder value by being first to market… controlling supply chain to hold on to competitive price position,” followed by a set of KPIs to show the organization is making progress toward its vision with the clarity of direction and what will be measured.
Need help developing a Vision Statement? Check out our whitepaper on Visioning here!

Example:

“ To be the most desired and successful transport solution provider in the world.” – Volvo

Scope

Scope includes the domain of your business—the part of the marketplace landscape in which you operate. For clarity, it defines the boundaries over which you will [and will not] venture.

Scope encompasses three dimensions:

  1. Customer or Offering
  2. Geographic Locations
  3. Vertical Integration

Clearly defined boundaries in those areas should make it obvious to managers which activities they should concentrate on, and more important, which they should not. This should be clear to your entire organization, not just your leadership team.

Example:

“Helping Chief Sales Officers of Fortune 500 companies design, implement, and manage sales force effectiveness.” – Sales Company X

Advantage

Your Competitive Advantage outlines how you’ll achieve your vision. It’s the essence of strategy that drives your value proposition—it explains why the targeted customer should buy your product above all other alternatives and clearly describes how your unique internal activities must be aligned so only your firm can deliver that value proposition.

Need help developing a Competitive Advantage? Check out our whitepaper on Competitive Advantage here!

Example:

“We are the first company to adopt end-to-end sustainable business practices in our sourcing, manufacturing and distribution of outdoor apparel.” – Apparel Company X

Making Trade-Offs

Defining the Vision, Scope, and Advantage requires trade-offs, which Michael Porter (Harvard Strategy) identified as fundamental to strategy. The trade-offs companies make are what distinguish them strategically from other firms!

Developing a Strategy Storyboard

The process must involve a rigorous, objective assessment of the firm’s capabilities and resources and those of competitors—including technology, industry, demographics, and regulation.

Example:

Edward Jones’s Strategy Statement: To grow to 17,000 financial advisors by 2012 by offering trusted and convenient face-to-face financial advice to conservative individual investors who delegate their financial decisions through a national network of one-on-one financial adviser offices.

Using the Storyboard Canvas

Have each team member complete the exercise to review and communicate your vision, scope, and advantage throughout your organization. It’s most important to complete this exercise with members outside of the planning team that may not have developed these planning elements!

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Heyden Enochson

Heyden works as OnStrategy’s Communications Manager, focusing on developing and executing effective customer and website communications. Heyden brings with him a design and marketing background in addition to developing integrated marketing communication plans.

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