An effective business strategy will define and differentiate the organization's unique advantage in the marketplace. A strategy can be developed at an organization level, a line of business level or a key function level.

Many organizations and their key functions do not realize the benefits of a clearly defined strategy for the following reasons:

  • The strategy is not communicated
  • Their strategy is communicated verbally only and is not documented
  • The strategy is documented but is too complex and long for people to remember or apply
  • Key leaders and stakeholders are not engaged in discussion about the strategy so it is not considered in everyday decision making, process design and planning

Benefits of a clearly defined and communicated strategy include:

  • Ensuring that capital projects will exploit a market advantage
  • Eliminating costs and effort associated with projects, lines of business or functional responsibilities that are not in alignment with the strategy
  • Improving external focus which helps the company be more responsive to market changes so they can adjust course as needed

In this issue of Goodfriend Insights, I will communicate my thoughts on the importance of a strategy document that is one page in length. But first I would like to share with you a One-Page Strategy Document for an organization called Holographic Stadium Technologies.

Holographic Stadium Technologies has technology for broadcasting in 3-D holography in holographic stadiums -- where people watch 3-D images that simulate being at the actual event. Only 70,000 fans might be able to attend a sold-out Super Bowl but because of this holographic technology, fans around the country will be able to go to a 2,000 to 5,000 seat holographic stadium in their local suburban area to see a projected 3-D image that looks and feels like you're at a real sporting event or concert. Fans would be watching broadcasted 3-D images of football players moving down the field and in a stadium venue, the images will provide the look, sound and feel of a being at the game. In addition, fans can enjoy the event in a stadium experience (stadium seating, food and souvenirs).



Core Purpose

To provide a simulated live stadium event experience for those who can't be at the live event

Visionary Goal

Reach 4,000,000 in attendance during 2009 at holographic stadiums constructed and operated by HST

Core Values and Beliefs

  • Always believe there is a better way
  • Make every decision with customers and attendees in mind
  • Prepare for emergencies and unexpected problems with contingency plans
  • Execute with perfection in mind. Learn from every error and mistake.

Products/Services Value Proposition

Design and Construction of Holographic Stadiums - Attractive investment for the holographic stadium investor because of the high revenue per ticket holder. Also, specialized holographic stadium engineers and construction managers can design and construct a stadium at the lowest possible total cost.

Provide Simulated Live Stadium Events Through 3-D Holographic Broadcasting - Minimizes broadcasting cost by "piping" holographic broadcasting technology through broadcast equipment being used at the stadium to televise the event.

Third Party Event Operator Services - Event service providers trained in key stadium functions (food service, ticket sales, security, souvenir shops) and holographic broadcasting functions to help the holographic stadium investors operate their stadiums at the lowest possible operating cost and provide the best possible customer service to attendees

Strategic Differentiation

  • Only company that designs/constructs public holographic stadiums, provide holographic stadium broadcasts and provides services at holographic stadium events.
  • Most advanced holographic broadcast technology that simulates a live 3-D stadium experience
  • Best holographic stadium broadcast knowledge base in design/construction, holographic broadcast technology and holographic stadium event operations


For those of you realists out there, Holographic Stadium Technologies is nothing more than science fiction. As you can see in this fictional case study, an organization through a One-Page Strategy Document can clearly communicate its strategy in a concise manner, enable everyone in the organization to set its priorities, align the efforts of different functions, eliminate unnecessary costs and make decisions consistent with that strategy. This One-Page HST strategy could probably be committed to memory in a short period of time.

One Page Strategy Documents

The One Page Strategy Document is a means of communicating the company's roadmap for success. A well developed business strategy communicated in a one-page document can accomplish the following:

  • Makes the strategy easy to communicate
  • Can enable stakeholders to discuss the implications of the strategy
  • Stakeholders are more likely to remember the strategy and apply it -- because they don't have to refer to a lengthy document in a file

Strategy documents are internal documents that guide planning and decision making for the organization. Strategy documents are more art than science. The following is one model that you might consider as a starting point for a one-page strategy document:

  • Core Purpose - The higher purpose (the reason) the organization, business unit or function exists -- its reason for being. For Mary Kay Cosmetics, it was "To give unlimited opportunity for women" and for Merck it was "To preserve and improve human life."
  • Visionary Goal - A clear and compelling long term goal that serves to unify the organization in pursuit of it. For Boeing in the 1950s it was "Become the dominant player in commercial aircraft and bring the world into the jet age" and for Stanford University in the 1940s, it was "Become the Harvard of the West."
  • Core Values and Beliefs - The principles that the company stands for. A Nordstrom core value is "Service to the customer above all else." A core value for Sony is "Being a pioneer - not following others, doing the impossible."
  • Product/Services Value Proposition - Describes the value that customers receive from each their primary offerings (products and/or services). For a car dealer, their primary offerings may be new car sales, used car sales and car maintenance/service. For each of these, the organization should be able to state the value to a customer. For example, for car service, it might be highly trained technicians that reduce the cost of breakdowns, service coordinators that discuss the "health" of your vehicle, rental cars to reduce interruptions in a customer's day, etc.
  • Strategic Differentiation - Describes how the company differentiates itself to achieve a unique advantage in the marketplace. Wal-Mart differentiates itself through lower prices for customers. Because of their operational excellence philosophy and their ability to gain leverage with their suppliers, they can achieve high profits through a high volume, low cost and low price business model.

A One-Page Strategy Document is not a strategic plan. It is a documentation and communication of a business strategy. A strategic plan is a plan for how the organization will deliver on the strategy communicated.

Examine how your strategy is communicated and documented. Can key players in your organization communicate the strategy without reading a lengthy document or better yet, can they state the strategy from memory? Are they using the strategy to make better decisions on possible capital projects, to collaborate on crossfunctional initiatives, to make decisions on disposal/acquisition of lines of business, etc.?

 *       *       *

The Declaration of Independence was a one-page document. Take it from one of the signers of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do."

© Michael R. Goodfriend, Goodfriend & Associates, Inc., 2003

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