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THE 5 ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS AT THE HEART OF ANY WINNING STRATEGY

Tom Suddes | January 30, 2013

I love it when my Rotman magazine comes from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

The Winter Edition had a really good lead article on STRATEGY: THE ONLY 5 QUESTIONS THAT MATTER. Roger Martin is the Dean at the Rotman School of Management and A. G. Lafley is the former Chairman and President of Procter & Gamble. They co-authored a book, PLAYING TO WIN: HOW STRATEGY REALLY WORKS.

The full article is a great read, but here’s the essence:

“We believe strategy can be defined and created using a simple framework that entails answering 5 questions. The same 5 questions no matter the type, size or context of the organization.”

Here are their 5 questions … along with my brief, For Impact commentary.

  1. What is your winning aspiration?  This is your ‘why do we exist,’ ‘raison d’etre,’ highest-level message, etc.  As they point out, it’s not the same as a mission statement, vision, etc. It’s actually about your purpose!
  2. Where will you play?  In their words, “Where to play represents the set of choices that an organization makes to decide where they will ‘compete.’”  In our For Impact world, it would be more about where you would decide to provide solutions, deliver great services, change the world.  What sector? What geography? What service and product lines? 
  3. How will you win?  For me, that is where you decide on your business model, strategies, organizational structure, team, etc. 
  4. What capabilities must be in place?  In effect, this says, what do we need to be able to deliver on our promise/solution/deliverables?
  5. What management systems are required?  Obviously, I’m not a big ‘management’ guy. However, I totally believe in frameworks, systems, structures and, particularly, measurements to determine if we are succeeding/winning.

It’s a great article from smart people.


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