Every leader latches on to "strategy" as a buzzword, very few really sit and think through it as a way of working, and even thinking.
Strategy comes from the military usage where taking high ground in a battle would give advantages - the ability to see the battlefield in it's totality (the "big picture") and accordingly plan out attacks on the opposing forces.
Applied to today's corporate landscape, strategy becomes an overarching approach that guides the direction of a person, team and company towards specific goals, achieving key objectives as milestones along the way.
So how can we come up with a strategy?
First, we get our time period in order - are you thinking long, medium or short term?
A good strategy considers all 3 main time periods, ensuring that thinking about tomorrow doesn't take away from today's pressing problems. After all, it's all connected.
Next, we connect business objectives to messaging. No strategy can succeed without a good messaging approach to rally, inspire and manage a group of people.
Finally, a plan for success. The strategy is boiled down to tactical level and with the appropriate amount of oversight, leaders can ensure the team is on the right track towards all stated goals, keeping all stakeholders aligned along the way.
In closing - the best strategists aren't always the most intelligent or even the bravest. Strategy cannot afford to be headstrong nor overly technical. Instead, it requires a unique combination of vision, patience and human communication, using the technical advice from one's team to make informed decisions, and then accept responsibility for the outcome, no matter what.
So the next time you need to plan a strategy, think about time, goals, messaging and allow your vision to take form, and soar.