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How do you create a strategy that inspires people?

I recently pitched to a new client to develop their strategic plan for the next three years. I was asked to answer an important question … ‘How would you help create a strategy that inspires people’? ‘Strategy’ sometimes gets a groan from people, but strategies are powerful drivers when they inspire people to make positive change happen.

During the pitch, I talked about four key principles drawing on over a decade of experience working on strategies that have delivered changehere are my thoughts:

1. Built collaboratively. A strategy that inspires is not something that can be ‘done to’ an organisation by a consultant or imposed on a team by a leader. Successful strategies are driven by strong leadership, but they are built and shaped collectively. It’s vital that those responsible for delivering your strategy are part of the journey to write it.

2. Credible and relevant. An inspiring strategy is convincing because it is based on solid evidence, not the thoughts of a consultant or the opinions of those with dominant voices. It feels credible when it is stretching, but ultimately the goals it sets out are achievable and resourced.

3. Aspirational and exciting. Yes, your goals should feel achievable but they should also be accompanied by a hugely aspirational long-term vision. This is your ‘big-why’ – the thing that gets your team out of bed in the morning and makes them feel part of something exciting.

4. Measurable and measured. ‘Measurable’ may sound dull, but it’s perhaps the most important principle behind an inspiring strategy. Why? Because real buy-in happens when people start to see meaningful, strategic change happening, when lack of progress is identified quickly and action is taken, and when successes are measured and celebrated.

If your business or charity needs to change, and bring about positive change in the world, then an inspiring strategy is a powerful place to start. Let’s have a chat about it?

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