A 5 minute read by Jason Prance, VP, Strategy
Love. Beauty. Strategy.
What do these terms have in common? They are used by many and understood by few. In our industry, the term “strategy” gets misused and misunderstood so often that it becomes chest-beating nonsense which eventually gets tuned out. But that’s not what bothers me the most. We’ll get there in a minute.
Strategy takes many shapes and forms, just like “beauty.” Why? Because you can’t have a real strategy without people getting involved. I used to get satisfaction out of the work and the results I helped create because they turned into hundreds of millions of impressions, clicks, and conversions. Now, my satisfaction comes from making real connections with people. People who, if asked the right questions, can unlock the “Why” behind everything we do. Sure, people can mess up a well-intentioned strategy, but they can also make it beautiful.
So, let’s take a step back with some examples of what strategy is NOT.
Strategy is NOT:
Now, let’s take a step forward with some examples of what strategy IS.
Now, here’s what bothers me the most.
Strategy is more than a job title or a department.
Being “strategic” is simply an intentional and disciplined way of thinking and seeing the world around you. It’s more than what you’re called or who you work with. It’s your attitude and approach. A strategic mindset requires you to be brave and curious.
Here are 2 simple ways to get started:
Begin by asking “Why” in order to identify the “Need” and then work on the “How.”
For example, the next time your client says they need a new website, begin with “Why.” Don’t annoy them, but keep “Why” in the back of your mind as you begin to navigate through your conversations. Don’t settle for anything you hear and be careful not to make your own assumptions. Be curious and push to understand the business and origins of the website “Need.” Truly wanting to understand and know more about a “Need” is a great compliment to anybody you work with—and that strategic understanding will help you figure out how (or even if) you approach that website.
You don’t have to work in “strategy” to be strategic, just like you don’t have to work as a “creative” to think creatively. Step outside your comfort zone and start strategically thinking with WHY!