The Art of Clear and Fuzzy Strategy

I once heard the idea of having a clear and fuzzy strategy - an idea that points to the fact that successful businesses straddle the tension between being prescriptive and opportunistic. Successful businesses have a culture that supports agility, they can turn and respond to opportunities within the strategy that has been set. That strategy can be both defined and indistinct.

It's counter intuitive and will meddle with your head if you think in absolutes, but I've always liked the idea of straddling opposites, and subscribe to the idea that the sweet spot is more often than not 'in the middle'. For example, when we can hold the tension between innovation and discipline, we create the ability to implement and commercialise new ideas.

The key to promoting a clear and fuzzy strategy, and to operate within it, is to be vigilant about looking in and looking out. Great businesses keep a watchful eye on the market, competitors and customers – whilst retaining a stable anchor point by referencing and executing company plans and goals. They pay attention and stay present, and importantly, know when to yield and know when to hold firm.

Here are 3 takeout’s to help you operate within a clear and fuzzy strategy.

1. Stop knocking on closed doors

Notice the doors that are closing as much as the doors that are opening. You can continue to knock on a closed door, but if no one opens it, it’s likely you’ll eventually walk away. Learn when to call it a day on a goal or plan. Prolonged resistance means something; stop, turn and walk another path.

2. Follow the breadcrumbs

Being opportunistic means responding to what’s in front of you. People, events and conversations can be clues to help facilitate adaptation and agility and connect you to the next stage. Follow the breadcrumbs, pick up the trail and take the next step.

3. Learn to pivot

We can keep one foot in place whilst rotating in another direction, we can be rooted to our history whilst seeking out our future. Pivoting means we don’t rest on our laurels. We seek input and make informed, present day decisions. Pivoting enables us to change our minds.

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