When you think about what makes a smart strategy the first thing that pops into most people’s minds are its elements or dimensions. For instance, getting to the point quickly, knowing what you’re best at, knowing what you’re not good at. These are all perfectly fine things to consider but when you really stop to think about it you realize the end result of a truly smart strategy is one that fully meets the needs of its intended audience.
Following this logic to its final conclusion you realize, “People are more important than the project.” This is the single defining dimension of a truly ‘smart strategy’ that will keep you on track through thick and thin. Here’s why.
A project succeeds because its purpose resonates with people. People, after all, purchase products and services, and make decisions of what they value based on its relevancy. The technical wiz-bang stuff that makes the product work is at the bottom of everyone’s interest.
The anatomy of a smart strategy has six main characteristics:
- They are guided by user interests versus cosmetic appearance
- They can be easily changed to meet shifting market conditions
- They eliminate tension and frustration, not create it
- They drive success quickly for all users
- They stimulate positive thinking among producers and users
- They are designed to make things easy to understand, purchase and use
Your first goal as a strategist should be to understand who you are serving versus knowing all of the finer points of your product, program or service. The knowledge gained by being able to relate to people comes from being centered on the individual. If you want to know how your strategy is working get to know those you are serving on a personal level. Understanding their challenges in their environment will greatly assist you in creating a strategy they will find most meaningful.
Simply put, the anatomy of a smart strategy begins and ends with fully understanding the needs of those you serve. Can a project be successful based on anything less? Of course not. Perhaps that’s why so many products fail. In the end, focusing on people is a very smart long-term play.