Over the next few days I’ll be looking at the “Four Hallmarks of Bad Strategy” from Richard Rumelt’s book Good Strategy/Bad Strategy. Each of these will be linked to a South African example and concluded with a tip to avoid that element of bad strategy.

The third element of bad strategy that Rumelt highlights is that of “mistaking goals for strategy”. He explains that many people and organisations set goals that they expect to act as their strategies. The example he uses is a company with the following “Strategy”:

“We want to grow revenues at more than 20% per year with margins at 20% or more” is mistaking goals for strategy”

Student Strategies

There was a student last year that told me their strategy was to get 75% or more for the course. Although this is an admirable goal, it isn’t a real strategy. There are many ways that it can be improved on. For example, having a set of coherent actions instead of just an objective would turn it into a strategy.

It’s easy to fall into the pitfall of substituting goals for strategy. The best way to test your strategy for this is to simply ask, “how?” If your strategy is even partly able to answer this then you’re on the right track.

Image was taken at the start of the Cape Town Marathon.

Song of the day: Day I Die - The National
Blog 119/365. Read more about my #365of25 journey here

Note this post was a little late, I thought I’d queued one up for yesterday but turns out I hadn’t 🙂


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