A Plan Is Not a Strategy - YouTube

Strategic ≠ Planning

What most “strategic planning” is in the world of business has nothing to do with strategy. It’s got the word, but it’s not. It’s a set of activities that the company says it‘s going to do.

… but the results of all of those are not going to make the company happy, because they didn’t have a strategy.

What’s a strategy?

An integrative set of choices that positions you on a playing field of your choice in a way that you win.

Strategy has a theory

  • Here’s why we should be on this playing field, not this other one
  • Here’s how we’re going to be better than anybody else at serving the customers on that playing field
  • A strategic theory must be coherent and doable.


  • You control costs.
  • You are the customer.
  • It’s comfortable. 🙂


  • Actual customers are the customers.
  • You don‘t control them.
  • You don’t control revenues. 😬

[Strategy] … means putting yourself out and saying, “here’s what we believe will happen. We can’t prove it in advance, we can’t guarantee it, but this is what we want to have happen, and that we believe will happen.”

Avoid the “planning trap”:

  • Accept angst. 😬
    • You cannot prove in advance that your strategy is going to succeed
    • In strategy, you have to say, “if our theory is right, this will position us in an excellent way”
    • Not knowing for sure isn’t bad management. It‘s great leadership.
  • Lay out the logic. Then tweak.
    • If something that you say is in the logic that would have to be true for this to work is not working out quite the way you hoped, it’ll allow you to tweak your strategy
    • Strategy is a journey. What you want to have is a mechanism for tweaking it, honing it, and refining it so it gets better and better
  • Keep it short—ideally 1 page.
    • Here’s where we’re choosing to play …
    • Here’s how we’re choosing to win …
    • Here are the capabilities we need to have in place …
    • Here are the management systems …
    • … and that’s why it‘s going to achieve this goal/aspiration we have.