Strategic statements

Crafting a strong strategic statement

Is your business strategy vague or hard to understand? Do your employees lend different understanding to your strategy depending on their role or the task at hand? There are ways to simplify and communicate your strategic statement in a more efficient way. Let’s look at how you do it.

When forming a business strategy, it’s important to look at the components it’s made out of. There are many ways to construct a business strategy, you have the Business Model Canvas, the Strategy Diamond approach, as well as numerous other methods, the 7s, SWOT analysis, SOAR analysis Critical Success Factors and many more.

The products of those analysis are often large complex documents that contain detailed industry, market and competitor research findings, product or service catalogue containing a breakdown of the value proposition, product market fit analysis, study groups and any other item of data required by the chosen method.

Expressing your strategy in a 100-page document leaves the door open for interpretation, and each person reading the 100-page document will take home a message best suited to her daily job, personal ambitions or even just state of mind when reading the strategy. If that happens, you’ll have as many business strategies as you have employees. That’s no good. The key then is to condense the 100-page document into a short strategic statement without losing information from the strategy.

Complexity theory states than any problem can be simplified down to its natural complexity. If you simplify any more than that, you’ll start losing information and if that happens, your problem statement becomes a different problem statement. The same goes for strategy, if you simplify too much you might lose the heart and direction of your business strategy.

  • Keep the strategy statement simple, avoid complex words and keep in mind that reading comprehension varies. Simple statements are harder to misunderstand, and make it easier for people to apply to their daily tasks.

  • The company’s strategic statement should summarize the chosen target customer and the value proposition. Note that larger businesses can have multiple customers, each being targeted with multiple value propositions. It should have a maximum length of one page, preferably just a paragraph. The shorter and more condensed the strategy, the more people will read it, just make sure that you don’t oversimplify.

  • Mix in negatives with positives. We understand some things better when we see it in comparison with something else. Negatives tell you what you are not going to do and positives what you are going to do. You might explicitly state a negative or emphasize a positive to infer a negative. Example. “we are focusing exclusively on the US market” infers that you aren’t going to be doing business in Germany anytime soon.

  • By writing your strategic statement you are preparing marketing material for your employees selling them what the business needs to do to stay ahead. Use copy writing techniques and copy drivers such as emotion: exclusivity, flattery, salvation or any other driver matching your message. And don’t forget to work in a dash of employee motivation promoting autonomy, master and purpose.

We’ve found that crafting a strong strategic statement is a mix of science and art. Your strategy should be founded in facts and research while the statement needs to evoke emotion and rally your employees around a common goal. Don’t fall into the jargon trap, and make sure your business knows where to head.

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