The two most important words in strategy

Strategy should start with WHY — but there are two why's: 

1) the why of PURPOSE 

2) the why of MOVEMENT (i.e. why here over there). 

For example, we often have conversations with leaders that go like this: 

CEO: We're going to focus on Digital Transformation this year 

Us: Great! That's what you're going to do and when. But how are you going to do it? 

CEO: We'll hire talented people and do it in an agile way 

Us: Ok. Why are you doing this? 

CEO: Because everyone else is and we can't fall behind 

Us: But that's not really a good example of why you should make this move and not another. There are multiple WHEREs you can attack. 

CEO: Not sure I follow you? 

Us: Do you have a Map of your landscape, with user needs identified and how things are changing? 

CEO: What kind of Map is that? 

Us: Ok. When trying to write a strategy the first thing you have to do is: 

  1. Map your landscape (always starting with user needs) 
  2. Explore WHERE you can attack 
  3. Determine WHY here (and not there) 
  4. THEN decide WHAT you must do, WHEN and HOW. 

Without a Map you won't have a strategy because all you will have is a tyranny of what, when and how but you won't understand WHERE to focus and WHY there (and not somewhere else better instead). Basically you're just playing chess in the dark.
Situational Awareness