Planning and strategizing for a business is essential for its functioning. However, while planning as a concept has been around since ages, business strategy is a relatively newer concept in the modern era. Therefore, often entrepreneurs and business leaders confuse one for the other due to how convoluted these ideas can become; while these are different concepts, they are also connected to some degree. 

Planning is just a set of activities a company engages in. The activities conducted through planning are almost always incoherent. Therefore, the biggest problem with planning is that it can often be aimless, as desired activities based on a plan may not yield significant results due to a lack of intent behind them. In contrast, Harvard Business School defines a strategy as an integrative set of choices that positions you on a playing field of your choice in a way that you win. 

A business strategy is more about the “why” rather than the “how”. It is a coherent theory that details why one should target a specific market segment and why one will be a better fit in that market. Every choice should align with answering these primary questions when building a sound strategy. A great strategy is doable, well rationalized, and holds internal consistency.  

Business leaders typically engage in planning instead of formulating a game-changing strategy, with planning is much more comforting. 

So, here are some tips for planning less and strategizing more – 

  1. Become comfortable being nervous and frustrated – As mentioned before, strategizing comes with a degree of risk, which can be nerve-racking because you can never prove the validity of your strategy with certainty. You must accept that you can’t be perfect with your theory. Not knowing for sure will not make you a bad manager, but it might as well make you a great leader.
  2. Ration out the logic exquisitely in front of yourself – A good strategy has internal consistency and is coherent. What is important is to evaluate the assumption on which your strategy is based to avoid fallacies and further tweak your strategy, if necessary.
  3. Keep it short, like really short – Try fitting one piece of strategy on a single page. Include which customer segment you are targeting, what you will be doing to win in that market specifically, and why things would work out the way you suppose. Keep it short, straightforward, and simple. Do not over-complicate it. 

A great strategy will strong-arm a world-class plan every day of the week in any market landscape. So, try strategizing more than you plan!

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