Strategy is an approach to managerial leadership – both a state of mind and a bias for relevant action. It's not merely a process to create plans. The days are gone during which attention to strategy could be episodic. At one time, even strongly managed and adroitly led organizations created strategic plans once every three (or even five) years. Those were then placed in a binder, filed in a credenza and reviewed infrequently. As a matter of fact and in days of yore, plan creation often took a back seat at strategic planning retreats to golf. That's no longer the case, or it shouldn't be.

Many "experts" recommend that executives view strategy as a series of discreet steps to be completed: mission, situation analysis, objectives, etc., etc., etc. You get the idea. I believe that a more meaningful way to think about strategy is as a series of questions that have to be answered not only on sheets of paper and by the CEO but also in the hearts and minds of all of the people in the organization. The degree to which all of the organization's constituents concur on the answers, the greater the likelihood of successful implementation, and the better the organization's prospects will be. That's why I prefer the notion of strategic leadership to strategic planning. The latter implies a task to complete. The former implies the continuous pursuit of value.

The eight questions:

• Who are we?

• Where are we today?

• Who and where do we want to be?

• By when?

• How will we get there?

• Who is going to do what and by when?

• How are we doing, and what are we going to do about it?

• How will we measure our progress?

I realize that I've distilled some rather complex issues into a simplistic list of questions. I understand that crafting strategy is a detailed analytical process requiring 2×2 box matrices and mountains of research, and for every one of these eight questions, you'll have more precise, finite, additional questions.

Think about it, though. If identical answers to these questions were rattling around inside the heads of every person in your company, how would that affect performance? Many laborious meetings could be replaced by relevant, individual initiative. What a concept!

Copyright 2014 Rand Golletz. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rand Golletz is the managing partner of Rand Golletz Performance Systems, a leadership development, executive coaching and consulting firm that works with senior corporate leaders and business owners on a wide range of issues, including interpersonal effectiveness, brand-building, sales management, strategy creation and implementation. For more information and to sign up for Rand's free newsletter, The Real Deal, visit