Simple Steps for Strategy

The Weekly Report – May 8, 2023
Steve Haarstad transforms strategic planning into a manageable challenge.

Enterprise Minnesota consulting expert Steve Haarstad shapes his instruction on enhancing strategic planning with a favorite quote from Albert Einstein: “Genius is making complex ideas simple, not making simple ideas complex.”

As I watched him give a recent workshop on strategy, I realized the same quote could be used to describe his presentation. In less than an hour – not including the ten minutes of lively questions that followed the presentation – Steve transformed a complex challenge into manageable steps.

I can’t imagine that anyone more deftly applies the concept of strategy to the realities of day-to-day business. His presentation had relevance for first-timers as well as executives who have implemented deliberate strategy for years. It served as both a how-to and progress check.

He began with three “secrets” – be purposeful, be different, and execute. He then showed how managers can develop strategy by using what he calls the Ps and Qs. The “Qs” are questions that leaders can use to assess how well strategy is being implemented and communicated. Who are we and why? Where are we now? Where would we like to be in the future? How will we get there?

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The “Ps” describe another approach to developing strategy: Leaders consider purpose and position to provide clarity to their employees, establishing timelines for reaching milestones and articulating the company’s position. They then evaluate whether processes are effectively supporting the company’s goals and long-term vision. And they use people by thoughtfully identifying and placing employees in the right spots to deliver the values of the organization.

In addition to these foundational ideas for building strategy, Steve offered tips to enhance strategy, including knowing your end game, or long-term goals. He also discussed the importance of rhythm, and offered practical suggestions on the timing of team meetings, from the C-suite level to the shop floor.

Steve concluded his presentation by emphasizing the importance of simplicity and clarity in both messaging and processes. Enter Einstein.

Steve is just one of many consultants at Enterprise Minnesota who use workshops to help manufacturers find operational improvements to advance their companies. They are short, convenient, and practical, providing the kind of information that can be used right away. I hope you get a chance to participate in one of them soon.

For a list of upcoming events, visit our website.

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