Why I don’t like the word Strategy

Guest blog from Business Advisor & Amplifier, Pippa Hutchinson

Why I don't like the word strategy

Misused and misunderstood

Why I don’t like the word Strategy! I would safely bet that if I asked ten different people in my network for their definition of the word strategy, I’d get at least eight different answers.

Possibly one of the best examples of business babble there is, ‘strategy’ is widely used and yet has endless definitions and interpretations.

Does it mean a plan, a set of goals, some objectives, KPI’s, none of those, some of those, all of those?

I always used to think that if someone’s job title had the word strategy in it (mine included), that it must denote some level of gravitas and sophistication, perhaps that’s part of its allure still?

It’s such an intimidating academic sounding word, – but what does it mean in real business life?

To my mind, if you have a business strategy it simply means that you’ve set out in crystal clear – easy to digest language how your company/team/organisation intends to be successful. That’s it!

Boil it down

If an organisation can boil down how it intends to be successful in just 3 or 4 key ways, it will provide great clarity for everyone who works there, and the results follow naturally.

When these 3 or 4 anchors are securely in place, they provide a filter for everyone to navigate the day to day running of the business. Leaders and teams can assess investment opportunities, allocate resources and agree the top priorities by making more conscious decisions through the lens of the overall anchors. Simple, powerful and enduring!

World beating businesses have got this nailed

Some of the most well-known successful companies on the planet keep it simple. Not only that, but they are also happy to shout from the rooftops how they intend to be successful. That way, the ‘strategy’ weaves its way into the fabric of the organisation, everyone – irrespective of their role – is fluent with the anchors, and so they successfully guide the day to day to do list.

Look at the anchors below for Airbnb, Amazon and Apple for great examples.

 The 4 anchors of Airbnb’s Strategy

  • Educating the world about what makes Airbnb different – hosting
  • Recruiting more Hosts and setting them up for success
  • Simplifying the guest journey
  • Delivering world-class service

The 4 anchors of Amazon’s Strategy

  • Customer centricity
  • Continuous optimization
  • Culture of innovation
  • Corporate agility

The 4 anchors of Apple’s Strategy

  • Focus on design and functionality of products
  • Enhancing customer experience
  • Strengthening Apple ecosystem
  • Decreasing dependence of the business on the sales of iPhones

Get the anchors in place first and the goals and targets and tactics will follow

Once these anchors are firmly in place, the clarity that they provide empowers tech teams to deliver bottom line results at speed. Individual teams and functional groups are far more able to drill down on the detail and structure a measurable and timed action plan when they are all aligned behind a clear direction of travel.

At the Amplified Group, we pride ourselves on our approach of keeping it simple. We’re rapidly building a reputation in the tech world for helping tech businesses to spell out their intentions for success, set down their anchors and make their intentions a reality.

We love the approach developed by Patrick Lencioni in which he advocates that business leaders answer six critical questions to crystallise the way forward. His book ‘The Advantage’ is an absolute must read on our recommended reading list.

If you asked your team members “what is our strategy?” how many different answers would you get?


You can listen to Pippa Hutchinson talk about strategy on our podcast episode The Art of Simplicity

Please get in touch if we can help.

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