“I advocate that executives develop a single 3-5 year strategic intent that is both aspirational and measureable.”
by Greg McKeown, 11/4/12, Harvard Business Review
How did you do? The largely indistinguishable statements make the task almost impossible. Such statements may still be considered “best practice” in some quarters but in so many cases they do not achieve what they were intended to achieve. Ironically, many “directional documents” are not fit for purpose: they do not provide direction.
At the risk of adding another consulting cliché to the mix, we can map the most common directional documents on a practical two by two to help us to make sense of them.
On the one hand, we have vision, mission and values statements that sound inspirational, but are so general they are almost entirely ignored. On the other hand, we have quarterly objectives we pay attention to, but these shorter term tactics can lack inspiration.
What becomes clear is that we are missing a directional document that is both inspirational and concrete. We need — using the language from Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad in their HBR piece — Strategic Intent. Going beyond their original definition, I advocate that executives develop a single 3-5 year strategic intent that is both aspirational and measureable. This can sound simple, but getting it right is not for the faint-hearted. It takes courage, insight and foresight to create such strategic clarity. Consider the following guidelines…