The strategy conversation you can only have here

What's needed to lead strategy?


Growing a business is hard.

It requires two key elements.

An idea for how you the business will grow and then the people in the business working together to turn that idea into reality.

The idea we can call your strategy and typically involves clever product / service ideas, competitive insights, approaches to distribution, taking advantage of trends in the environment and more.

People are required for almost all businesses. There are many different models ranging from everyone being fully employed to almost all functions outsourced. Either way, people are needed to deliver on a strategy.

Combining the idea and people is how you will get your business into a more powerful position over time. And bringing together the idea and the people requires leadership.

To lead a successful strategy we need a clear direction and people who are aligned around that direction. We also need commitment to the strategy starting at the CEO and rolling out throughout the organisation. This is the Centre for Creative Leadership's (CCL) DAC model.

To lead strategy we must hold these three dynamic circles (DAC) in balance. At times the direction may be clear but there is insufficient commitment to make a change. Or there may be strong commitment but poor alignment meaning that there is wheel spinning instead of progress.

There is always work in balancing DAC.

When a strategy is being lead effectively, there will be evidence of DAC (direction, alignment and commitment) for all to see. The table below contrasts what you will see in your organisation when DAC is happening and when it is not happening.

While there are hundreds of lengthy definitions describing strategy, they all boil down to one thing - we want to move ourselves and our organisations from our current position into a more powerful position over time.

The question is how do we get to that more powerful position?

The brilliance of CCL's DAC Model is that it is not hypothetical. Either we see evidence of DAC or we do not. If there is not evidence of DAC then we can address those areas where we are deficient in either direction, alignment or commitment.

That is leading strategy.