Ask ten competent leaders how they define or apply strategy or strategic thinking, and you’re likely to get ten different and diverse perspectives. While no business or team can succeed without the proper alignment of strategy and tactics, few have built it into an organizational discipline. When Jack Welch took the helm at GE in 1981, he famously made the declaration that GE would focus its effort on only three “strategic circles” – its core manufacturing, technology-intensive businesses, and services – and the imperative would be that if each of its units couldn’t rank first or second in its global market, he would exit the business. Not only did his strategy galvanize over 300,000 employees at the time, more importantly, GE’s value increased by more than 4000% during his 20 year tenure.
Welch thought of strategy as ‘something like an innovative new product; globalization, taking your products around the world; be the low-cost producer. A strategy is something you can touch; you can motivate people with; be number one or number two in every business. You can energize people around the message.” More than ever, strategic thinking is the highest of leadership priorities, and in his book, Elevate: The Three Disciplines of Advanced Strategic Thinking, Rich Horwath, peels away at the 3 essential C’s that will elevate your strategy discussion.