Place Your Strategic Bets

Strategy is about placing bets, and increasing the odds around those bets.

That little gem came out of the mouth of a client last week, and I quickly jotted it down. It’s not a new concept, but I liked the way she phrased it – and it hit my consciousness at the right moment.

One of the hardest tasks we have as strategic consultants is guiding our clients to important intersections, and helping them choose a path forward. Too often, clients become mesmerized – or paralyzed – by all of the items they need for a successful journey. Not only do they lose sight of a bigger vision, they fail to take advantage of the unique vistas they’ll pass along the way.

In our extremely competitive world, where the playing field has been leveled by technology, transparency and risk aversion, the vistas are where the game changes.

If everyone can visualize the same destination or dream – “No child will go to bed hungry” or “A cultural destination of choice” (Yawn, right? But real!) – and everyone has the same tools in their toolbox – marketing, board development, fund development, and so forth – where’s the gap?

The gap is in the journey. It’s the choices organizations make, or fail to make, to get off the beaten path. Not to choose a road less traveled, but to choose a strategic road that puts their enterprise at risk and forces the board and staff to play smartly and aggressively.

We sometimes ask our clients to wrestle with questions of transformation. We invite them to identify revolutionary ideas. We challenge them to break the mold.

Sometimes they respond.

Those are the clients who leave the strategic casino smiling.