The four key tests of a strategy’s validity are:
- Is the direction consistent with external realities, providing direction to move toward a better future versus perpetuating the present and past?
- Is there a clear value proposition backed by some competitive advantage?
- Can the organization execute it, or develop the means to execute it?
- Is it robust? Said another way, can the strategy take a torpedo mid-ship and still make it to its destination, recognizing that unforeseen events will occur?
When the right group of managers carefully applies its collective knowledge and intuition toward refining and validating the strategy around these four tests, the result will be a much more powerful stated direction, and a chance for significant step improvements in performance.