Strategy and Planning is a subject that has produced thousands of books, countless theories and made many people very rich. It doesn’t need to be made over-complicated if some basic principles are followed.
Putting to one side for the moment the type of organisation involved, we all have some basic goals and we all think about ways that we can go about achieving these. We then review what we’ve done and consider how successful we’ve been. That’s it in a nutshell – the first bit is the strategy and the second bit is the planning and evaluation.
Over the years, many analogies have been made between sport and business to demonstrate how to achieve success. So here goes with another topical one.
The Rugby World Cup is about to start. You may remember that England actually won the Webb Ellis Trophy in 2003 in Sydney with a late, extra time drop goal from our hero – Jonny Wilkinson. This was the culmination of years of meticulous preparation and planning under head coach Clive Woodward. For years Woodward was ahead of his time – analysing other sports, speaking to leading coaches, understanding what made success, all the time collating a bank of invaluable data that would inform his strategy and planning to win the ultimate goal in his sport – The Rugby World Cup.
So the strategy was about being the best team in the world, aiming to peak at the right time with the very best possible combination of resources (players, and support staff – specialist coaches, physios, nutritionists, psychologists etc…) and leaving nothing to chance. In a way, that’s the easy part.
Making it happen is the hard bit and that comes down to the planning – in effect, agreeing the tactics that will be employed to achieve the objectives. This involves detailed analysis of opponents, creating a schedule of matches to test every scenario all over the world, challenging players to see how they respond in adversity, working out the best combinations across the team. And famously Woodward introduced the now much followed principle of his team doing 100 things 1% better than the opposition and the ‘t cup’ concept – Think Clearly Under Pressure. Pure genius, when you think about it – as this applies as much to business contexts as it does to sport.
Fine margins determined the outcome of the final on that famous night in Sydney in 2003 and our Jonny once again did his bit – that kick (with his ‘wrong’ foot) and the move leading up to it had been rehearsed 100s of times before because, remember, nothing was left to chance. England achieved their objective through clear strategic thinking and meticulous planning.
In our own creative industry, we are faced with challenges from clients and prospects every day. We’ll always look to employ the same basis principles as set out above – the level of detail will vary depending on the complexity of each project. We help you define a clear strategy that is aligned to your corporate objectives and then we come up with the appropriate creative communications plan across relevant media channels (the tactics) to help you reach your target audience.