Can we really use strategy every day?
Too often, “strategy” is seen as something that has to be done by a limited group of people at a specific time in the corporate calendar. But the tools, techniques and approaches which have been developed for high-level corporate strategy can be useful in many ways. In fact, they can be applied to situations which arise more frequently, and in a wide variety of settings.
Many organizations already ascribe strategy to specific functions or activities, such as distribution strategy, negotiation strategy or even backup strategy. Others look at corporate strategy as something that is reflexive and fluid, and not tied down to annual planning exercises.
But the opportunity to apply strategic thinking is even broader. From negotiating with a landlord, to campaigning for class president, or selecting an online course of study, many everyday situations can benefit from thinking strategically.
What are the benefits of using strategy in daily life?
There are three clear benefits to applying strategic approaches to everyday situations. The first, and most obvious benefit, is that it can help you to solve problems better. Using the tools of strategy may help you find unexpected solutions or give you new insights into the resources you have and how they can be applied.
Secondly, thinking about your everyday tasks and problems in a strategic manner helps you stay aligned to your ultimate vision. Strategic thinkers know they have to stay on target, and spend their time and effort on the things that move them in the right direction.
The third benefit, and perhaps the most important, relates to making the process routine and intuitive. If you don’t practice strategic thinking in normal situations, you won’t be prepared to do it during a crisis. Practicing on lower-stakes issues and decisions will help you to build your strategy reflex.
Using strategy every day does not require a formal, complicated framework. We use “GERM” as a mnemonic for what should be considered when deciding on a course of action.
It starts with “G” because the first thing you need to reflect on is your goal or vision. What do you want to achieve? What will success look like?
The “E” is short for the environment or setting in which your action is taking place. What is changing in this setting? Who are you competing against?
“R” stands for the resources or assets that you can bring into your calculation, both tangible and intangible.
Finally, “M” stands for the methods or approaches you can take. What options are available for moving forward?
Once you have thought through the GERM elements, you can move on to comparing your options (which can include risk and ethics considerations), and then make your decision