A starting point of good strategy

What does a good strategy look like? How does it start? Put simply, good strategy identifies challenges and how to develop cohesive actions to address those challenges.

The starting point is then to identify the challenges. One way of thinking is to look for anomalies. An anomaly is a fact that doesn’t fit received wisdom. In business, an anomaly could be a great source of opportunities.

Take Starbucks as an example. In 1983, Howard Schultz noticed an anomaly when he visited Italy. He noticed that the way Italians consume coffee was different to Americans. That insight led him to form a strategic hypothesis with a list of business challenges and how to address them.

The starting point of good strategy is not about putting a budget or a financial plan together. It’s not about the percentage growth we expect next year. A good strategy starts from an in-dept observation of anomaly.