Simple steps for more strategic thinking: cohesion

I like Rumelt’s definition of strategy as ‘a coherent response to a significant challenge’. It breaks what is an often vaguely talked about thing into four distinct aspects. There has to be a challenge. That challenge has to be significant. You have to choose to respond to that significant challenge. And your response has to be cohesive.

If there isn’t a significant challenge, you don’t need to be strategic about how you respond. If you aren’t going to respond to the challenge, you don’t need a strategy. If your response isn’t cohesive, you aren’t thinking strategically about it.

If you want to respond cohesively to a significant challenge then you need a strategy. And if you want to think more strategically you can figure out what your significant challenge is and how to create a cohesive response.

Cohesion often seems to be the one that gets missed when deciding how to respond to a significant challenge.

This help us be more strategic about all kinds of challenges that are significant to us. Got lots of things to do (the challenge)? Group them together into themes of similar tasks and you’re already creating a more cohesive response to that challenge than tackling those tasks as separate individual items.

Thinking about ways of connecting, ordering, grouping things starts to add more cohesion, which invariably leads to a better response.