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Strategy is more than a mindset. It also includes a body of knowledge and a set of tools that are CRUCIAL for seasoned and emerging leaders.

Course Overview:

The discipline of strategy is one of the most coveted - and maligned - aspects of a leadership role. It's also one of the least understood, and poorly applied.

This course is designed for leaders at any career level who would like to use a rock-solid foundation in strategy, in a compressed format. Conducted as two back-to-back 3.5 hour training sessions with a live instructor, this class will soon be replaced by a 5-week asynchronous online course.

While not required, it's strongly recommended that you participate in one of our Insights Bootcamp courses prior to taking this class, to ensure you're familiar with the most important types of market research and business intelligence that inform strategy.

Learning Objectives:

  • Cultivate a better understanding of the background of business strategy, as important context for making choices about your company's approach to the market: 
    • Briefly explore the history of business strategy going back to Sun Tzu and military applications
    • Develop a strong understanding of the most prevalent modern schools of strategy as outlined by Mintzberg et. al, discussing the role of key thought leaders and how they've influenced today's most common strategy tools - including Balanced Scorecard, Hoshin Kanri, and others
    • Discuss the emergence of Agile, and how this product development methodology has come to influence corporate strategy at the highest levels - for better or for worse
    • Compare the "old schools" with more recent strategic influences, including the "Work Backward" philosophy from Jeff Bezos, "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek, and others
    • Consider selected case studies to illustrate and reinforce understanding of the "Five P's" of strategy
  • Outline the most essential inputs into strategy development:
    • Illustrate the need for insights from research and business intelligence when formulating your strategy, as essential context
    • Evaluate the pros and cons of different tools for gathering operational and recce information "on the ground" in real-time
    • Examine potential criteria that can be defined in advance as markers of effective strategy, as a checkpoint to be used after your strategy has been developed
  • Introduce an updated, repeatable process for strategy development that combines aspects of the time-tested frameworks with new tools for addressing market challenges
    • Discuss the 18 individual capacities that are needed to improve your organization's strategic performance
    • Review 7 dimensions of the customer experience which present key opportunities for value creation, and prioritize them using the context provided by the insights gathering phase
    • Learn how Design Thinking and other ideation tools can help your company break the cycle of timid incrementalism to develop a strong and courageous approach that is based in data
    • Demonstrate how to use a business strategy canvas to translate your "big idea" into a comprehensive game plan
    • Present a process and cadence for continuously improving strategy as new information becomes available - applying context, judgment, and guidelines to allow for adaptation while avoiding abrupt directional changes which can lead to employee burnout and undermine strategic planning

Course Outcomes:

  • Participants who complete this course will be better equipped to engage in productive discussions about strategy
  • Participants will be able to critically evaluate newly developed strategies from a perspective informed by knowledge, rather than personal response
  • Participants will improve their own ability to formulate effective strategies using a lean, structured approach


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