What is different about your strategy?

How is your strategy unique to your company? Can you truly read it and say that there is no other business in the world that could claim the same positioning? If not, perhaps it is time to push yourself to be more specific.

Go and take a look at your strategy statement. Yes, there it is – in the folder gathering dust underneath the pot plant. What about it is unique to your company?

Ruthlessly cross out anything that could apply to another company. Does “employer of choice” mean anything? First choice for lazy people too? Do you want to be first choice, whether the person is motivated by compensation, personal development, sense of purpose, excitement, job security, innovation or a friendly and supportive culture? First choice in the industry or against all employers? How are you measuring progress towards it? If you aren’t measuring it, it is very unlikely to be part of your real strategy.

Be equally generous with the red ink when your strategy describes leveraging resources or core competences, providing customer satisfaction, creating shareholder value (do you know a company that doesn’t want to create shareholder value?) unless it specifically explains what the company uniquely does to create this value.

Hopefully, you haven’t edited everything out, and what you have left is unique to you, the positioning that differentiates you from all of your competition.

If it looks a little lean, don’t worry. Better to recognize this and engage your team in strategic thinking about how to increase your differentiation than have this reality obscured by a collection of impressive-sounding but ultimately meaningless terms.

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