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7 Common Strategy Mistakes


In the before times, I did a workshop with businesses called “The Whiteboard Workshop” and we’d lay out their strategy with action items attached that would carry them forward with an emphasis placed on what they’d achieve in 90-180 days. 

I did one recently and the impact it had on the organization in the next 90 days was pretty profound. 

The board members of the organization mentioned, “A strategy had always been elusive because it always felt like such an insurmountable task.” 

That got me thinking about mistakes people make when it comes to strategy. 

Let me lay out a few for you this morning:

  • Strategy isn’t planning: Planning for “strategy” is mostly about procrastination and not making the decisions you need to make to move forward. 
  • SWOT isn’t strategy: Mostly this effort falls into the category of procrastination as well. For a strategy to be successful, it needs to focus on the customer. 
  • You can’t be everything to everyone: Strategy is about choice. The most important choice, figuring out what you won’t do. 
  • Strategy isn’t an event: You may have a workshop like I do or some meetings on strategy, but it isn’t an event that allows you to wave a magic wand over and you’ve “done strategy”. Strategy is an ongoing process.
  • Strategy isn’t a complicated, multi-page document: The best ones are on a single sheet of paper. 
  • Strategy isn’t something that starts at the top and trickles down: One of the biggest issues I see is that the people that deal with the customer are involved in the strategy often enough. 
  • Focusing too much on what the competition is doing, not strategy: The core of strategy is “relative differentiation” which can be defined as why someone picks you instead of the other alternatives. 

These are my top 7. 

What do you have? 



I’m looking at doing some in-person workshops later in the year with potential stops in:

  • NYC
  • DC
  • London

And, maybe, a return to Sydney thrown in the mix. 

I’ll have more information in the next week or so. 

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