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Strategic Planning

What do surprisingly many people even in higher positions struggle with?

It's something that can make you irreplaceable if you become the person who is good at it.

That thing is strategic planning.

Sure, not every project needs a full-blown strategy — but once you hit a threshold of interconnectedness and significance, a good strategic plan will 3-5x your effectiveness.

Now, the thing is that most people who talk about ‘strategy’ don’t talk about strategy.

Here’s a list of things strategy is not:

  1. Strategy isn’t a set of KPIs. That’s a metrics list.
  2. Strategy isn’t an initiative list. That’s a roadmap.
  3. Strategy isn’t a set of ambitions. That’s a vision board.
  4. Strategy isn’t a list of actions. That’s execution planning.
  5. Strategy isn’t a revenue forecast. That’s financial planning.

So what is strategy then?

The best definition I can offer is this: Strategy is translating business goals into concrete actions, considering current business and organizational realities.

And strategic planning includes defining the strategy and creating guidance for its execution.

Following this 5-step process will put you ahead of 98% of others:

1. Formulate Business Objectives

Define desired impacts on:

  • Business
  • Brand
  • Organization

2. Develop Strategic Stances

Form knowledge-driven convictions on strategic factors in key areas:

  • Industry (Customers, Competitors, Trends, Legal)
  • Product (Innovation, Iteration, Expansion, UX, Technology)
  • Business (Internationalization, Monetization, Partnerships)
  • Brand (Service, Communication)
  • Organization (Needed Skills, Resources, Structures, Processes)

3. Decide on Strategic Focus Areas

Identify high-leverage areas, establish strategic principles and priorities, and set execution compass and guardrails (e.g. what not to do).

4. Problem Breakdown


  1. Challenges to overcome
  2. Milestones to achieve
  3. High-Level initiatives

5. Execution

Use OKRs for management, or personal interaction and alignment in smaller teams.

Master this process, and you'll not only stand out but become indispensable.