#Winning The Game: Strategic planning that works — From Red Ocean to Blue Ocean

In brief:

Traditional strategic planning model is theoretical and highly predictable

80% of strategic plans fail at implementation

Winning The Game makes strategic planning real and easy to implement

Many companies lack a strategy. They have plans which don’t work.

At the end of this write up, read about the Playing To Win, or what I call the Winning Game. It is a strategic development game changer for any business. As an expert in helping your organisation implement this new strategic planning model, I implore you to try it. It is a game changer.

It is just unique and it works. At the end of it all, you will have a one-page succinct strategy which all of your staff must use to guide their daily actions and activities. The times of a 20 to 50 pages ‘strategy’ are long gone. If you are still planning like that, I am sure you are fighting each other for failed strategy execution.

In fact, you cannot implement such a strategy easily. And I am sure you are just surviving. Nothing special you are doing to beat the competition. If you are still in business, it is not because of a winning strategy implementation. It is probably because of scale and your brand.

Many companies are not succeeding because their strategic planning process is wrong. Below is the theoretical, useless, and outdated process which most, if not all, companies use to develop their company strategies:


They start by asking the question: where do we want to be?


Then they will ask, how do we get there?

In addition, they will document values to guide their conduct/ behaviors so as to get where they want to be. It is now almost common to see in any company’s strategic document something like

To act with integrity, care for the environment, do what we promise we will do, blah blah blah, and the same company will go ahead to cheat, lie and abuse the environment.

Goals and objectives

The company will then identify what they call “overarching goals” and the respective objectives.

Environmental analysis

Then they will do analysis of the business. This is one of the most time consuming and useless stage. Usually, you will find executives locked up somewhere in an isolated place or hideout trying to undertake an analysis of this and that: what is the general economy outlook. Thank God, the greats like Michael Porter and et al have helped provide a clear framework to do such analysis.

Many companies divide this stage into two: internal analysis and external analysis. Under internal analysis, the companies will attempt to identify their strengths and weaknesses by analyzing six (6) Ms referred to as Money, Markets, Make-up, Manpower, Machinery and Materials.

Like complying school kids, they will continue to tick-off one by one asking themselves, do we have the Money to undertake our projects. If the answer is yes, they will say this is our “strengths.” If the answer is no, then it is our weakness. One by one, they will analyze and grin for a job well done. After exhausting all the options, they will proceed to the External Analysis.

Here, several models exist and the commonly used is P.E.S.T.L.E.D or any rearrangement of these letters. P for Political factors, E for Economic factors, S for Social factors, T for Technological factors, Legal, Ecological and Demographic.

The folks, now getting tired but because they are out of office on a retreat, they will continue inhaling their own exhaust by doing almost the same analysis as they did last year and the one prior. They will say, if the Political environment is in their favor, then that is an opportunity. And if they supported a party which lost the elections, it would mean that the ruling party is not in their favor, and considering that most developing countries, government is the biggest business party, and then the political environment is a threat as it is not in their favor. You get the reasoning.

They will continue: Economy, are the interests’ rates good (low)? Are people saving much and investing? Is the economy growing? Will the forex remain stable, etc. if yes, then the economic factors are in their favor. One by one, they will review all the points. It is just for the sake of it. There is no strategy planning there. Everything is theoretical.

At this level, they will be feeling great and chest thumping. Other ‘brilliant’ companies may opt for the five forces model by Michael Porter to analyze their environment, and one by one they will review it. These models are great.  Unfortunately, they are poorly applied out of context!

Strategic options

The folks will now progress to identifying strategic options. They will list so many activities or interventions to achieve their overarching goals identified. This stage tends to be tedious, but they will do it quickly.

Thereafter, they will apply the environmental factors identified and chose the most appropriate strategic action. Again, they are not scientific. They will just decide. And break the activities down, into years, budget, outputs, responsible and comment.

With this, their strategic planning retreat will come to an end and they go back to office to implement and then wait for another twelve months to review the strategy. It is just routine with no tangible results.


This is where reality strikes. People will continue doing old habits, daily activities, and apart from becoming more inefficient, you will rarely notice any change. The strategy retreat will be tucked into the drawers until the next retreat.

Strategy execution in many companies fails because of poor strategic planning. You have 30 pages, out of which 75% is “economic analysis.” Is that a strategic plan or a research paper? Even serious companies do not plan well.

If you ask any CEO of how they performed against their old strategy, the answer will not be clear. Their old strategy was just wrong and too verbose.

In the next issue, I will introduce to you the new strategic planning approach:

Playing To Win

Playing to Win is a Harvard Business Award Winning Strategy Model that is just awesome. It just involves you answering five key strategic questions.

What is our winning aspiration?

Where will we play?

How will we win?

What capabilities must we have?

What management systems do we need?

All your strategic planning must be focused on answering the above questions.

The secret is in understanding the model and applying it to your business.

The model is based on an award winning Playing To Win Book published by Harvard Business. The new model helps you avoid the red ocean. You need to create your own blue ocean. The Winning The Game, strategic planning approach is a real winner for you.

If you are planning a strategy retreat, and need an expert to give you new perspectives into developing a winning strategy that deliver real results, contact Mustapha Bernabas Mugisa, MBA on 078261033 or email premium[at]summitcl[dot]com to help your team develop a practical, easy to implement winning strategy based on this model. You need to understand that winning and corporate success is deliberate and scientific. The problem with the old strategic planning model is that it is predictable and your competitor could easy guess your strategy. Plus so many things are done out of context, without rationale!

This will be one of your life changing presentations in a long time. You will not be disappointed. Call me now and I just speak to your strategic planning team for 1 hour. It will be one of your best investments you have made this year. I promise.

If you are having challenges implementing your existing strategy, give a shout. I will show you the way.

Copyright 2014 Mustapha B Mugisa. All rights reserved.

About M. B. Mugisa

Mustapha Barnabas Mugisa is one of those rare people who provides business consulting and advisory to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker and governance (strategy and risk) expert. His speaking involves making key notes at major conferences and business events on both technical subjects and leadership skills. A change agent and motivational speaker. Mustapha provides tools and proven methodologies to remarkable results through making people appreciate change. Visit Mustapha's LinkedIn profile to know more. Mustapha is the architect of #WinningMindset Leadership and #WinningTheGame strategy approach that combines Harvard Business strategy Playing To Win, with the Blue Ocean Strategy and Balanced Score Card to deliver a strategy that is easy to execute and monitor. Visit www.mustaphamugisa.com for special insights to improve your condition. Are you too good to be great?

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