Strategy means saying no. It's as much about what you don't do as what you do. Strategy requires that we make hard choices; a strategic leader must be willing to choose from among competing options, many of which may be viable.
This does mean that some people will be worse off. But strategy needs focus to work. Focus is a magnifier and only with focus can coherent action be taken.
One of the main challenges of strategy is recognizing which situations to invest energy and resources in. This requires judgment and critical thinking enough to overcome biases and myopia, as well as an ability to question and evaluate one's own judgments.
This is rarely a simple black and white decision; strategy is typically more design than decision-making.
- Identify the path not taken - When rejecting an opportunity, be clear that it has been considered and rejected.
- Strategy manufactures constraints - An effective strategy creates constraints that should clarify which opportunities should be rejected