There are no sure things in strategy, and nothing lasts forever.


Having a clear definition of winning, a robust analytical framework, and a review process, can help organize your thinking and improve your analysis; but a successful outcome is never guaranteed.

In a typical strategy process, participants seek to find the single right answer. At some point, through the massive amount of data, a few strategic options tend to emerge.


Hard feelings tend to emerge as individuals advocate for one choice and feel marginalized if their option doesn’t make the cut.


Compromises may then be made, instead of real hard choices – and choices, as we know, are at the heart of strategy.

But asking a single question can change everything:


What would have to be true? Strategy, after all, is not making a choice that makes everyone happy, but rather making the best choice.


And answering this question can help mitigate conflicts. To answer this question:


  1. Frame the choice: Convert issues into a least 2 mutually independent options to consider.


  2. Generate strategic possibilities: Broaden the list to ensure all possibilities are considered.


  3. Specify conditions: For each possibility, find which conditions must be true for it be sound.


  4. Identify barriers to choose: Focus first on those conditions about which you are least confident.


  5. Design valid tests: For each key barrier, design a valid test sufficient to determine commitment.


  6. Conduct tests: Conduct hypothesis-driven analysis, testing low-confidence conditions first.


  7. Choose: Compare test results to key conditions and make informed choices.


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