September 17

The Foundation Of Great Strategies


No matter how much you admire your house after its built, if the foundation is weak and its shape is not ideal, the house will not stand for long, it won’t function the way you want it to, and it will cost a lot more than you planned to build it and keep it functioning. 

Strategies are a lot like that. Without great foundations under them, they become admirable goals that will fail to deliver the results that they could, and cost more to achieve and sustain than they should. Keep in mind that the foundation is not the strategy; it makes strategies possible. Your strategic objectives are also not the strategies; they are the goals of the strategies.  

In our experience, great strategies have three fundamental characteristics: 

  • They are Ambitious. They take you beyond the boundaries of your self-limiting beliefs about what is possible.  When appropriate, they are not afraid to take you beyond what is “practical.” When your assessment of possibilities uncovers exciting opportunities, your strategies should focus on quantum rather than incremental goals.
  • They are Creative.They address doing/achieving new things. Or they have you doing old things in new ways. They do not allow you to fall into the trap of dismissing potentially lucrative opportunities by offering up the lazy rejection of “we tried that before, it didn’t work.”
  • They are Executable.This one is the most important. Your ability to execute is the foundation of a solid strategy. It is a place from which you can create the tactical actions that align your ability to execute with the human and capital resources that you either have or can acquire. Brilliant execution defines you. Anything less is just conversation.  

Strategies are more executable when your organization is well balanced– meaning that your strategies:

  • Are aligned with your values– the ones that you live. Hopefully they are the same ones you proclaim. If they’re not – trouble lies ahead. 
  • Take into account the skills and subject matter expertise needed to do what it takes to achieve your strategic goals. And if you don’t have the needed skills in house, that you include plans for acquiring those resources. 
  • Align with your cultural norms and behaviors. Peter Drucker said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”He was right. If you devise strategiesthat don’t correlate with the cultural norms, the style and the behaviors that your people exhibit in attempting to execute your strategies, you will never fully achieve your goals. Or you might achieve them, but at a much higher cost in time and resources than you anticipated. When that happens, morale and enthusiasm invariably suffer.

More on each of these elements of balance in our upcoming posts. 

By Bill Leider, Managing Partner, Axíes Group


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Book Reviews

Mastering Your Balance

Amazon Book Reviews

D. Thurman April 7, 2021

The areas of balance required to perform as a top level organization are lifted from the almost unconscious to the very conscious in Mastering Your Balance. As a business and executive coach I see business leaders mostly consumed 95% if the time with near term issues. A perpetual game of Whack-A-Mole.

Perhaps, getting the various elements covered in the book in play and more importantly in balance these leaders would have far less moles to whack, and therefore much more time and energy available execute on their greater purpose.

Shane Willard April 21, 2021

Bill & Jason get it. Having coached thousands of businesses and business leaders their insight is invaluable. They beautifully weave Vision, Values, Culture, Strategy & Purpose together into actionable steps any leader can implement. As they say, no matter how good one is at these individual elements, without balance greatness will always lie just behind your reach.

The 'what-would-it-take' concept in Chapter 2 makes you peel back the excuses and think creatively. "To achieve the impossible you must first envision the improbable."

At its core, this book serves as a blueprint for each vital element necessary to achieve success and balance organizationally (and personally). It reminds leadership where they need to focus.

Joe Fera April 1, 2021

What would it take to shatter your limiting beliefs and lead your company to heights only dreamed? Read ‘Mastering Your Balance’. Bill & Jason have demystified the ‘Dark Matter’ of great leadership and great organizations and boiled it down to highly actionable and implementable elements. Aha moments abound!

LR March 31, 2021

Mastering Your Balance answers the question and is a must read and reread for any organization daring to go from good to great! Mastering Your Balance shines a much needed light, drawing our attention to it, causing us to remember it's significance. More than words, we are reminded that a carefully crafted mission/vision statement is the organization's North Star.

Severin Sorensen March 24, 2021

As a business coach I'm always looking for books to inspire the human mind, and give direction to business owners seeking to raise their performance in the great game of business. Mastering Your Balance is one of those books. The authors are experienced in the art of giving profound advice to their clients.