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Better Strategy Includes Subtracting

you can and should say no to the things that aren’t delivering value

Keyboard with yellow X key
Photo by Sam Pak on Unsplash

Meet Blue Glass (fake name to protect the innocent). They cultivate a digital community to help women scale their businesses.

Historically, their strategic plans have generated primarily new things: new events, new ways to connect members, new technology.

That’s not necessarily bad. They’re a younger business and had room to expand.

But now their team, the humans they serve, and their partners are providing feedback that begs another question: why are we doing this?

When that question comes up, there are two probable root causes:

  1. Outcomes weren’t clear or were never defined so people genuinely don’t know the point of some of what they’re doing.
  2. Whatever the action is, it’s a lot of work, and the point isn’t clear or the intended benefit isn’t being felt.

When you approach a strategic plan, part of the process must include reviewing your existing tactics. That includes products, programs, campaigns, processes, events — really, anything — that you do.

You need to know if they align with your purpose and what outcomes they help you achieve.

Nothing is precious in this process. Be willing to cut things that aren’t working or don’t make sense so you can put your resources to the things that do, as well as toward testing new tactics or exploring new opportunities.

There’s nothing worse than asking someone on your team to spend time on something pointless (*shivers*).

In the case of Blue Glass, they are cutting two offerings that no longer make sense with their purpose and/or haven’t helped them to achieve their outcomes. They’re also changing another offering to better align it and have set measures to know if it’s effectively delivering value.

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Originally published at on January 10, 2022.




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Katie Burkhart

Katie Burkhart

Putting a point on business 🟡 | Entrepreneur Contributor | Serial Entrepreneur | Not-a-Book Author | Keynote Speaker | Minimalist Designer | Jargon Slayer

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