Ernest Hemingway believed the following were six of the best words he ever wrote “for sale, baby shoes, never worn.”
Way back in 2010, and building on the insight from Hemingway’s words, my friend Kwai Yu asked two questions in a LinkedIn discussion:
Who are you?
Could you tell the story of you in six words?
Kwai received some extraordinary responses.
They gave me great inspiration, which led to an idea that I implemented. I began asking my clients, could you describe your strategy in six words?
I also developed a simple, fun exercise where participants in my presentations and programs came up with six word or one sentence strategies. Many have been fully embraced. They have helped my clients to thrive in the best of, as well as the most challenging times.
I've asked 100’s of people from all over the world, Could you describe your strategy in six words? There have been many, many memorable answers.
Adopting a six word or one sentence strategy also means avoiding strategy planning which in my view is an oxymoron and therefore not worth your time and energy. Let alone that by the time you print your strategic planning document it could already be out of touch!
Strategy is like a compass. It’s simply the guide by which you make decisions. It should never be confused with the map i.e your execution plan, or better still your execution process.
Of course living and leading in a pandemic influenced world, let alone other major challenges such as climate change action, a simple yet profound, six word or one sentence strategy is needed now more than ever.
Embracing a six word or single sentence strategy is what wise leaders do.
My own strategy in my professional practice has been nuanced several times in the past twelve years. I help my clients be innovative and to stay ahead of curves and patterns by doing the same in their own best way.
My current one sentence strategy is 5 words:
55% helpful conversations, 45% referrals
By way of explanation helpful conversations for them with people after working with them, or hosting an event, generates 55% of my new clients, while the other 45% come from referrals form current clients.
My strategy has also played a major role in a choice I made to significantly reduce my working hours (I've got other pursuits in life), yet at the same time embrace the "less but better" principle, while also expanding on the number of people I work with by shifting to group mentoring with 1:1 support, and expanding the number of peer groups I host.
How would you describe your strategy in six words or a single sentence?
PS You might find inspiration, as I do, from the six word stories website.