The four tenets of strategy

Strategic planning is a complex science with libraries of books written about it.

Whilst keeping legions of academics in employment, it can be a daunting task for any leader at any level of business to articulate strategy both in terms of methodology and content.

Reading a book on military history recently, I was struck by four tenets which every leader is taught early on.

So here they are.

Aims – Ways – Means – Risks

Let’s try and unpack these a bit.


What are you trying to achieve? Why is it important? Within your overall aims, what objectives will you set ? How will you communicate those aims and achieve buy-in from your subordinates?


What are the strategic options to achieving your aims? What are the implications of choosing particular strategies? How will your competitors react? Which strategic option best fits the market, your resources and your competitive position?


What resources do you need to achieve the chosen strategy? What are the implications for training and development? Roles and responsibilities?


Every strategy comes with risks. It was once said no plan survives first contact with the enemy. So what are the risks in achieving your chosen¬†strategy? What happens if you don’t achieve your objectives? What are the risks inherent in your resource needs?

This is just scratching the surface, and there are a whole lot more questions to be answered and information to be analysed in order to develop a successful strategy

But the framework is simple, clear and easily communicated¬†– three things which should be high on every leader’s agenda.

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