I think of a business strategy as an action plan for achieving a goal based on an informed point of view. A “fuzzy” strategy is the first iteration of the fully fleshed out version, something that can be shared immediately to rally or inspire the troops, get everyone on the same page, confirm an intended course of action, and help get a project immediately off the ground.
No matter the initiative, developing a fuzzy strategy shouldn’t be daunting. Follow these steps and a well thought-out fuzzy strategy will quickly emerge.
Give your strategy a title
This may seem unimportant, but giving a succinct name to your objective will ensure alignment and understanding for everyone with whom you share it.
The title should reflect your end goal.
Let’s say, for example, that you’ve been asked to create a strategy for reducing company accidents and creating a more safety-conscious work force. The title of your fuzzy strategy could be: Building a safety-focused organization.
Create the vision, mission, and objectives
First, develop your vision statement – what the world looks like when this initiative is in full swing.
Example: A company with zero accidents.
Next, create the mission statement – what must happen for the vision to come alive.
Example: Create a proactive, passionate safety-first work environment.
Finally, write out your objectives – the big rocks that need to be tackled to achieve the mission.
- Build a safety scorecard
- Develop a safety-first campaign
- Create a safety ROI
Don’t worry about trying to capture every possible objective. Just list out the tactics that immediately come to mind. Remember, this is a fuzzy strategy, which can be edited and expanded upon later.
Develop an informed point of view
Armed with a vision, mission, and objectives, you are now ready to do the three things that will make up your informed point of view: reflect, review and research.
1. Reflect on your own experience
Don’t discount the knowledge you already have on the topic. After all, you’ve been asked to develop this strategy so you must know something. What are your beliefs about the subject?
2. Review the current landscape
What can you learn from other companies who may have explored this same initiative or something close to it? What kinds of initiatives are currently going on in this area? Are there any trends to note from previous years versus now? What are others doing in the same space? As you review the landscape, create a list of themes that you like (best practices) as well as things that you don’t.
3. Research the experts
Seek out information on the topic and find out what the experts are saying. You don’t have to spend weeks at the library or force yourself to read volumes of material (although you can). Maybe there’s a subject-matter expert in your company with whom you can meet. Research enough so you have a good working knowledge on the topic, and you know where to look if you need more information.
And that’s it. Your fuzzy strategy shouldn’t take long to create – the fuzziness is based on how much time you’re able to put into it. A week? A day? An afternoon? Of course, the longer you spend on it, the clearer it will be. However, even with just a surface-level of data gathering, when you have that first draft done, you might be amazed at what you’ve created.