Author Archives: Matthew E May

Day 1 – Strategy Sprint – A DIY Guide

Day 1 - Strategy Sprint - A DIY Guide

This is the third in a series of five DIY posts on holding a strategy sprint. You now know how to prepare for a strategy sprint, and you’ve gathered the right people. You’re ready for the first full day of sprinting. Take a deep breath, you’ll need it! Day 1 is all about grasping the current situation, understanding strategic choices, ...

Read More »

Preparing for a Strategy Sprint – A DIY Guide

Preparing for a Strategy Sprint - A DIY Guide

This is the second in a series of five DIY posts on holding a strategy sprint. The decision to hold a strategy sprint assumes that you’ve come to the conclusion that a new strategy is warranted, that new directions must be explored, and you’ve gotten to this point in a thoughtful and deliberate way. Something has been tugging at you ...

Read More »

Strategy Sprints – A DIY Guide

The word sprint means different things to different people. A runner thinks of it as a race, a mad dash of a few seconds. A software developer practicing "agile" thinks of it as a short, iterative cycle of work, often weeks or months, rather than seconds. An entrepreneur practicing "lean startup" methods thinks of it as minimally viable product development effort of a week or less.

Read More »

The Magic Question of Strategy

The Magic Question of Strategy

Your grand strategy seems airtight on paper. You’ve arrived at a winning aspiration. You’ve honed in on an open and attractive segment in which to play. You’ve identified the competitive advantages that will enable you to win in your chosen spaces. You’ve got the capabilities and systems to support your choices. But as the saying goes, no battle plan survives ...

Read More »

What Capabilities Do You Need to Win?

What Capabilities Do You Need to Win?

You’ve got a winning aspiration. You’ve chosen where to play, and how to win. Now: what capabilities must you have in place to enable you to win where you’ve chosen to play? This is the fourth question in the cascade of five questions in Roger Martin’s “Playing To Win” strategic framework. As Deming once said, “a goal without a method ...

Read More »

How Will You Win? (Strategically Speaking)

Even if your “Where to Play” (see last post) is not particularly unique, there are always ways to win. Case in point: corner coffee shops, so common they’re found in just about every town and city on the planet. Nothing at all special or unusual about that space. Who wins in that unremarkable market? Starbucks. Starbucks is the undisputed heavyweight ...

Read More »

Where Will You Play? (Strategically Speaking)

The question of where to play, strategically speaking, is deceptively simple. Most companies don’t give it enough deep thought and consideration. My friend Roger Martin would say, in fact, that most companies adopt a mindset of “our ‘where to play’ is where God ordained us to play.” In other words, they act as if the space they occupy in the ...

Read More »

What is Your Winning Aspiration?

A winning strategy absolutely must begin with a winning aspiration. Too doctrinaire? Allow me to explain the premise the way I learned it from Roger Martin, one of the best strategists on the planet. The operative word is “winning,” for the simple reason that if you’re not winning, you live in fear of the competitor in your space that is. ...

Read More »

When Going in New Directions, It Helps to Have a Map

I developed the Play-to-Win Canvas, a large wall map, to help teams explore strategic possibilities. (Click HERE to download a full size PDF, or HERE for a personal A3 size, both sharable under a Creative Commons license.) So, you’ve decided you need to shift strategy. You’ve drafted your current strategy using the Roger Martin Playing to Win five-question strategic question ...

Read More »