14 Resolutions for the Chief Strategist

Becky Morehouse

Becky Morehouse

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As we sit on the cusp of 2021, it is good to be reminded that sound strategy is more important than ever. With that in mind, here are 14 resolutions for the chief strategist. 

As the chief strategist…

  1. I will choose my strategic team carefully. I want people who share the vision, are smart, and are more interested in the future than in the past. At all times, I will prefer talent more than titles. 
  1. I will stack my team with doers. It is much easier to teach a doer to think than a thinker to do. This is central to my bias for action. 
  1. I will recognize that a compelling vision comes first. A compelling vision is credible, generates wide internal support, and attracts talent and donated dollars. But more importantly, it generates hope.  
  1. I will evaluate every decision in terms of how it will positively or negatively impact our ability to achieve our vision. My vision will be my north star.  
  1. I will not depend on a one-time look at my marketplace. Instead, I will seek and value longitudinal data. I want to know how things change over time. This means undertaking both qualitative and quantitative research directed at internal and external audiences. It also means regularly accessing and assessing relevant secondary data. It means becoming numerically fluent.  
  1. I will understand that the competition for resources is great and likely to become even greater. This means I will focus on fewer goals and actions and swarm those goals and actions with more resources including time, talent, and treasure (dollars). As part of this commitment, I will ruthlessly prioritize.   


  1. I will realize that the purpose of strategy is to differentiate my college or university from my competitors in ways that my target audiences value. This means I will have a clear understanding of who my true competitors are and the visions they have for themselves.  
  1. Identify a smaller number of more important audiences. I will also understand the motivations and behaviors of these key audiences.  
  1. I will not overlook my internal audiences. Also, I will seek their input and keep them up to date on our progress. 
  1. I will not fear conflict nor will I be overly distracted by it.  
  1. I will resist the false god of consensus and the futility of finding a course of action that everyone supports. Rather, I will seek functional consensus. And when a decision about which option or idea to pursue must be made, I will make it clearly and decisively and I will communicate my rationale to my key audiences.  
  1. I will recognize that while hope is healthy, pie in the sky is not. I will not propose activities that we cannot afford. As a corollary, and as a good steward of our resources, I will continually monitor and communicate the progress of my plan. ROI will be an essential part of my strategic planning process 
  1. I will not be additive. If I add a new program or activity, then I know that other less effective programs and activities will need to go.  
  1. I will not pay the too-high cost of a perfect plan. Pretty-good plans done in a timely fashion are much better than more perfect plans that take forever to develop and exhaust everyone on campus. I want our people to have enough energy after the planning process is completed to execute the plan with verve and enthusiasm. 

These are all important steps to becoming a great Chief Strategist.

Want to learn more? Schedule a free consultation with Becky Morehouse today.

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