The Dynamic of How
This is the key to strategy that is so often misunderstood and frequently missed—getting to the heart of the “How?” There are academics and practitioners who have their ways of revealing and identifying good strategy. Unfortunately, I have found them to be lacking in simplicity or even hazy enough to be misleading. Some, I would argue, almost purposely seem to make strategy identification complex for the sake of sounding academically superior on the subject. In their haste to give others a formula for strategy, they leave out something more valuable— teaching others how to think about strategy in the first place.
The dynamic of how in strategy reveals itself when you understand that strategy must ultimately act like critical mechanism that everything around it depends upon in order for the whole to work. In our circulatory system, it’s the heart (the mechanism for moving blood). In our central nervous system, it’s the brain (the nexus of electrical activity). In a swinging door, it’s the hinge (the point of both joining and movement). It’s a device that everything else “hinges” upon. And, once you truly understand and act in concert with this dynamic, the strategic process and its outcomes become much clearer and more potent. Because you are focusing your attention and efforts around a singular convergence of advantage, your efforts become both more efficient and amplified.
Applying this way of thinking to strategy, the less important factors and actions fall away, while the most critical aspects of a particular challenge or problem begin to crystallize. You specifically answer questions like, “What is the most important factor to heed and act upon in this particular situation?” or “If all else falls away, what has to happen? What is critical?” You begin to focus far less on producing a strategy and far more upon solving for a clear and present problem or challenge. Answers to these questions will reveal your big how. Such thinking can help you answer for the smallest of details, while simultaneously helping you to identify bigger patterns that must be present and working in order to reach your goals and the outcomes you seek.