When I described our most recent restructuring plan to a friend – a seasoned and successful financial professional - he was certain we must have hired McKinsey & Co. to help us think things through. Wrong. It was Erika Andersen. Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group


A Real-Life ‘Being Strategic’ Story

I have a Google alert on the phrase ‘being strategic.’ It’s partly because I’m always on the lookout for references to my book and TV show; when people say good things, I want to thank them and, if it seems appropriate, to engage them in conversation.

But I also like to see how people are talking about and defining the idea of being strategic.  It’s fascinating to me how little common understanding we have of this concept – one of the reasons I wrote the book – and I learn a lot about how people think by reading the ways they use this phrase.

And occasionally, I’ll get led to a good or even great article about someone actually being strategic.  This one is an example.  Benjamin Sayer, the focus of the article, is a small business owner whose enterprise ended up coming out of the recession stronger than before, and the article explores why.  Basically, what he says is that he re-focused on his company’s true sweet spot; acted quickly and decisively to reduce unnecessary costs; and made sure he knew what his customers wanted most and was offering it to them well and consistently. Maybe I just like it because it’s what I advised people to do during the recession.

These steps may sound too simple to be powerful.  But my experience is that generally the most powerful acts are the simplest.  Simple is not the same as easy. It is often much easier to be complicated; to waffle; to do things by half-measures; to drift along in the path of least resistance; or to give in to fear and retreat into habit and defensiveness.

I love this example of well-considered, simple action; making core directional choices that would best move them toward their hoped-for future. That’s what I think it means to be truly strategic.

About Erika Andersen

Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.

Visit Erika's Forbes.com Blog

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