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I was recently contacted by a client in a large charity who wanted to get their complex strategy on a single page.

They had worked through the strategy with the board, and subsequently with key members of the management team.  The ideas were captured in a word document and in a spreadsheet relating to different themes of the strategy.  Each column addressing the issues for a particular stakeholder group.

You can imagine that was quite complicated when you started to break down what each stakeholder group wanted, what the organisation’s response was, how the organisation was going to build capabilities to support that strategy and the projects they were also going to use.  Not only complex, but not exactly the easiest strategy to read.

Making it simple – strategy on a page

Our first cut through the strategy was to head for a strategy map and start to make sense of the overall picture.   Whilst we ended up with a word document that was subsequently represented back to the board, this gave us a vital piece of information: that of the structure of the industry they were trying to influence and how the pieces fitted together.   Teasing out the industry value chain allowed us to make clear how the organisation  was planning to influence each part of that value chain in turn.  More importantly what was in it for them.

This step allowed us to get another step further.  To make it clear what problem each part of the strategy solved  for each part of the industry.   This was an “Ah ah” moment for the  client.  I like it when there are Ah ah moments.

Telling the story of the strategy on a page (or two)

After quite a discussion the story became a lot clearer for the client.  He now had a strategy document that clearly addressed the needs of its audience, the board.  It set out the problems they were solving and clearly stated how they were going to address those problems.  It told the strategy as a coherent story.  It made it simple to create the subsequent presentation that the he presented to his board and also to important stakeholders.

Ok, I’ll be honest with you.  After making the story clear, ensuring we had all the strategy for stakeholders and making it look nice with a larger font size  and clearer headers, we ended up with the strategy on nearly four pages.   However it was a clear compelling story, that had something for everyone, and made the strategy clear, simple and easy to communicate.  A sound base for its communication through the organisation, its implementation and subsequent tracking.

If you want to make your strategy on a single page, clear and simple, yet meaningful, then get in touch. Even if you want your strategy on  four pages, we don’t mind.  Our ability to cut through the complexity of strategy and make their story simple, yet clear, seems to be one that our clients like.

to find out how to make your strategy simple, compelling and easy to communicate, simply get in touch.