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I recently read a very interesting article about digital strategy. Let’s be honest I’ve always been a sucker for lists. The “10 best...

anything…” will always grab my attention. In this case Sean Singleton reviewed a lecture he attended “The Art of Strategy” organised by Digital Doughnut. He had some very interesting findings, most but not all of which I’d agree with. What do you think?

<![if !supportLists]>1.     <![endif]>Keep it Simple.

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>Couldn’t agree more! Simplicity is key or no one else will hear what you have to say, let alone buy into it.

<![if !supportLists]>2.     <![endif]>Make people believe in it.

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>I’d rather say make people want to believe in it. Or rather, make the story so compelling they have to believe in it.

<![if !supportLists]>3.     <![endif]>We are in the Age of The Customer. 

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>If we’re saying Age of the Shopper then it’s also big yes. All strategy has to address real and fundamental barriers to purchase as much as to delivering brand positives.

<![if !supportLists]>4.     <![endif]>Culture is King!

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>This goes without saying. Align the business with the strategy. If the culture is relaxed and creative, be relaxed and creative in the workplace. There is no point having the Board agree a strategy the rest of the business simply doesn’t see around them.

<![if !supportLists]>5.     <![endif]>Great strategists are born not made.

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>Couldn’t disagree more. Great strategists understand the tools at their disposal and the business they work in and the shoppers and audiences they’re talking with. All of this can be learned. Some of it by experience sure, but anyone can be a strategist.

<![if !supportLists]>6.     <![endif]>Many companies have struggled to adapt their strategy to the digital revolution. 

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>Self-evidently the case. Digital needs to be at the heart of every business. A separate digital strategy should not exist, it would be like having a sales strategy divorced from a marketing strategy. The sooner we stop talking digital strategy and start talking simple strategy the better.

<![if !supportLists]>7.     <![endif]>Transparency is vital.

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>If only all confident companies were not afraid to share key financial metrics with their staff in order to improve performance.  The belief is there that this is difficult stuff. No wonder so many employees fiddle while Rome burns, they don’t know it’s burning soon enough. This is a must and if they don’t engage – make them!

<![if !supportLists]>8.     <![endif]>The strategic weakness of many big and small companies.

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>I agree with the commentator when he writes that “…a typical weakness of big companies is that the strategic vision is produced in isolation by CEO and/or senior management team.  Then the vision is delivered in a “top down” fashion without any consultation or staff influence. Whereas many small business owners work “in the business” and not “on the business”. My perception is that this just shows the lack of engagement with strategy at all levels of most business. Sales led organisations will always focus on short term solutions. Long term strategic solutions are rarely considered buy those for whom the maxim “in the long run, we’re all dead” could have been coined.

<![if !supportLists]>9.     <![endif]>On-Going Measurement.

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>The use of dashboards around strategic performance is not as prevalent as it should be. The writer suggests that its vital that businesses monitor strategic performance on a regular basis and share the results with the whole company. Absolutely correct. But this has to be in terms everyone can easily understand. A good strategy leads directly to clear communication. Poor strategies founder in the story telling.

<![if !supportLists]>10. <![endif]>Is it Art or Science?

<![if !supportLists]>a.     <![endif]>It’s more art than science but a scientific approach can help monitor performance. I don’t think I could have put it better myself.

Thanks to Sean Singleton. To read his original article click here: http://www.digitalannexe.com/art-strategy-seminar-10-things-learnt/