blog overview
Frans Riemersma, 25 Aug '16

Structure Your Strategy and Sprint Towards BHAGs in 5 Steps

Achieving your strategic goals is hard. You need structure and consistency. Use this simple 5-step strategy template to Sprint towards your BHAGs and finish in record time.

A client recently asked me a particularly challenging question: ‘what does a finished strategy look like? How can you tell when a strategy is done?’

Coming up with a clear answer is tricky because the actual goals that make up the strategy tend to differ per industry, per company, or even per team. But there is hope.

There are quite some strategic attributes that can be applied to the majority of contexts. Finished strategies do have things in common across industries.

After numerous strategic conversations and workshops, we think we know the answer. We are now able to paint a visual picture of a balanced and ‘finished’ strategy.

Here is a simple strategy template you can use to structure your strategy. View it as a ‘rule of thumb’ rather than a binding law. You’ll be able to formulate your strategy consistently for all departments and teams involved in the execution of it. You’ll have something to work towards. And, crucially, you’ll actually know when your strategy is ‘finished’.

Go next level - manage the madness on 5 levels

Chances are you don’t really have one dedicated place to put your to-do list and goals at the moment. Digg up that generous collection of spreadsheets and presentations you have lying around, and spread out all your strategic plans, goals and tasks right in front of you.

It’s an intimidating and dreary sight. There are so many things to take into account, and yet it’s probably not even a complete collection of all directives you’ve been asked to follow… Who knows?

But don’t be discouraged. It is time to bring some method to the madness. It is time to structure your goals and build a comprehensive and coherent strategy, from top to bottom and from left to right.

The strategy template has 5 levels:

Level 1: BHAG
Level 2: Funnel
Level 3: Tactics by Channel (year)
Level 4: Campaign targets per quarter
Level 5: Sprintable campaign target per month 

Level 1: BHAG

As a manager, write down your main, Big Hairy, Audacious Goal. That is, if you even have one. If you don’t, just come back later, after you completed level 2 and 3.

This goal is and effectiveness metric, usually expressed in money or translatable into money. Think revenue, market share, profitability, etc. It is usually not an efficieny metric, like saving time.

BHAG Example: I want to increase revenue by 5,5%

Level 2: Funnel

As a manager, take the sales funnel or customer journey approach. Use one of the existing, proven models such as AIDA, AARRR, Value Streame, or ToFu, MoFu and BoFu.

AIDA example: I want to increase ‘attention’ by 10000 website visitors.

AARRR example: I want to increase ‘acquisition’ by 10000 website visitors.

Value Stream example: I want to make 10000 more website visitors ‘aware’.

ToFu, MoFu and BoFu example: I want to fill the ToFu with 10000 more website visitors (prospects).

And there are many more models you could use…

Level 3: Tactics by Channel (year)

Now formulate your goals on a channel level.

Channel tactics example: I want to run a Facebook campaign to increase website visitors by 10000.

You can do this for any of the funnel stages in Level 2. And, of course, on many other channels, like:

Instagram, Twitter, Radio, TV, Collateral, Flyers Teaser-print, Wall banner, Pull banner, Handout, Poster, Powerpoint, Price sheet, DVD, Case study, Brochure… and the list goes on.

Increase ‘retention’ using ‘Instagram’. Widen the ‘BoFu’ using ‘Powerpoint’. Get people ‘intrigued’ using ‘handouts’.

You can imagine the “Funnel Stages vs Channels” - matrix yourself…

Level 4: Campaign targets per Quarter

For every Channel you use, define smaller Campaigns to pursue quarterly goals.

Use a combination of proven tricks and highly experimental campaigns.

Quarterly campaign tactics example: I want to run a Facebook campaign to increase website visitors by 8000 this quarter…

And in addition: I want to stealthily show our wall banners in the background of cat videos on Periscope. Let’s just hope that’ll generate 2000 more website visitors this quarter.

Level 5: Sprintable campaign targets per Month

Add Efforts to all your goals. Discuss them with your team to discover what is feasible in your next month-long sprint. Voilà: sprintable goals.

Sprintable monthly campaign target example: I want to run a Facebook campaign to increase website visitors by 3000 this month… 

There you have it. We started with a BHAG, and taking just four steps we know how achieve that goal and make it a reality.

Build your own ‘finished’ strategy

As if you weren’t already planning on trying this yourself: try it yourself!

  • Set your BHAG
  • Decide on which Funnel model you use
  • Choose your Channels
  • Set your Quarterly targets - using proven and experimental ways
  • Set your sprintable Monthly targets 

There may never be a perfect answer the what ‘a finished strategy’ looks like. What we do know is that you have to be clear on how BHAGs can actually be achieved in practice. A finished strategy is a strategy that is clear for everyone involved in executing it.

You now know how to connect the bottom to the top, and short-term goals to long-term goals in five easy steps. When you use the right structure, you can be certain about when your strategy is ‘finished’… and it will be sooner than you ever thought possible.