Many companies strategize so much of the time they don’t even realize they’re doing it. Other companies don’t pause nearly enough to organize their thinking. Both have something in common however, and that’s the strategy cycle.

The strategy cycle usually starts with someone in the organization identifying a trend that people haven’t recognized before. Often the most important step in the planning process is taking the time to pause and analyze the results. But that requires some additional time and can lead people to short change this all-important step.

That’s because many organizations don’t like to hit the pause button, preferring to move ahead with a new strategy without taking the time to properly vet it. This is a bad practice that can lead to lackluster results. Which in turn leads to repeating the strategy cycle.

The following are three questions every strategist needs to answer:

  1. What have been our most important strategic accomplishments during the past 90 days?
  2. What are the most important ways we fell short of our strategic potential during the past 90 days?
  3. What are the most important things we have learned about our strategy during the past 90 days?

In traditional strategic planning circles, strategy is usually thought of as the purview of the executive suite. However, MarketCues research has shown how quickly people at all levels of a business can grasp the key dimensions of their organization’s strategy and begin contributing meaningfully to its strategic decision-making.

Many organizations underestimate this power of tightly linking their strategy to their full staff. Constantly asking your people for their ideas is one of the healthiest things you can do to grow.