Among the sea of strategic plans, only a rare few shine as exemplars of the genre. These strategies don’t just sound good on paper; they deliver tangible wins. So what elevates some game plans above the rest? This piece distills the essence of truly great strategy.

The Heart of Strategy

Legendary coach Vince Lombardi defined strategy simply: “How we will win.” A strategy is the roadmap to achieving goals through decisive planning. But most fall short of greatness. The format doesn’t make a strategy; its content does.

6 Hallmarks of Best-in-Class Strategy

Great strategies share these traits:

  • Simplicity – Condense complexity into clear action.
  • Candidness – Face harsh truths head-on.
  • Decisiveness – Make tough choices and own the outcomes.
  • Leverage – Capitalize on existing strengths.
  • Asymmetry – Ensure upside outweighs downside.
  • Futuristic outlook – Play the long game.

The Power of Keeping It Simple

In a convoluted world, simplicity rules strategy. Plans should be easy to communicate and execute, as Warren Buffett advised. Complexity is the enemy.

Candidness Builds Realistic Plans

Being overly positive backfires. Great strategy confronts challenges directly, as football coach Nick Saban noted. The truth, however brutal, is crucial.

Decisiveness Drives Strategy

Strategic plans must make clear choices on what to do and not do. Ambiguity is failure. Decide with conviction.

Double Down on Your Strengths

Leverage existing advantages over building new capabilities from scratch. Remember, it’s better to be excellent at one thing than mediocre at many.

The Asymmetric Advantage

Great plans ensure upside outweighs downside. Even if things go awry, the company advances. Don’t take big risks without proportionate reward.

In today’s complex arena, outstanding strategy is a competitive edge. With simplicity, candidness, decisiveness and asymmetry, any organization can craft plans to outmaneuver rivals. Play to win!


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