Express Strategy as Simple Rules

When articulating strategy, there is benefit to expressing the strategy in the form of simple rules that clearly define the appropriate approach to boundaries, priorities, timing, and existing.

Boundaries rules help determine which opportunities to pursue, while priority rules help determine how to compare competing opportunities. Timing rules, meanwhile, govern issues such as development and release cycles and help the company keep pace with emerging opportunities. Exit rules define when and how to gracefully address the end of a product's lifecycle.

By defining strategy and policy with a small number—maybe 2–7—of precise, targeted, but simple rules, can help organizations navigate changing environments with clear direction and confidence. Their simplicity makes them easier to enact, while also helping to avoid judgments becoming clouded by peripheral information.

But, be prepared to revise rules regularly; and ensure that the rules are consistent with the organization's strategic narrative and appropriate data.


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Eisenhardt, Kathleen M., and Donald Sull. “Strategy as Simple Rules.” Harvard Business Review, January 1, 2001.