Strategy is About Finding Your Organization’s Identity

I recently drove by the location of the last Sears in Vancouver. I remember going into the store as a kid, being amazed at everything it had on shelves. I never shopped there as an adult, instead choosing modern alternatives such as Amazon or Walmart.

Much can be said about the poor strategy Sears adopted in the final years but I want to focus on one element. Sears never updated their identity to match Amazon.

Whenever I start a strategy formulation session, I always give them my definition of strategy. It’s not meant to be better or worse than their definition but it is helpful in these sessions to have a consistent version that everyone understands.

To me, strategy is about figuring out who you are as an organization.

Peter Drucker famously asked companies, “What is your business” and “What should your business be.” Who you are as an organization is another way of answering this question.

Sears started by realizing that they were in the distribution business and put catalogs in railroads, serving the long ignored market of farmers. When those same farmers started moving to the city, they started opening stores, moving into the retail business. Sadly, they never moved into the ecommerce business (like Amazon) or even back into small towns (like Walmart).

Who you think your organization is determines all kinds of decisions. Where you focus your energy, what kind of partnerships you pursue, what products and services you keep and so forth.

A strategy session is the perfect time to work through the current identity of your business and how it should change in the future. Using strategy sessions to make a list of action items is not the correct approach. You can do that at any time, in less time.

Next time you think about your strategy, take a minute to consider if your organization’s identity is still appropriate for where you want to go.

P.S. If you're thinking of making bigger decisions at work or in your personal life, get in touch. I can show you how to increase your impact in dramatically less time (and effort), all in 30 - 60 minutes.

Plus, whenever you're ready, here are three other ways can make superior decisions and make an impact in the world. 

1. Help your team level up your ability to make decisions through frameworks and cutting edge ideas. Learn more about my training and workshops.

2. Make faster and bigger decisions in real situations over 90 days. Learn more about my Just-In-Time (JIT) Advisory ™, a bespoke program for ambitious leaders.

3. If you're spending more than one day formulating strategy, you're missing out on countless opportunities. Learn why a Sentient Strategy® approach could make sense for your company.