‘Hey Manas, You are not there yet when it comes to strategy. You can get things done, but you need to develop your strategy skills.’ This is a feedback I got repeatedly from one of my past managers.
For a long time in my career, I had this reputation of someone who is a terrific execution guy - who gets shit done, but does not long term/strategically. As I wanted to grow into a more senior role, I naturally decided to learn the mysterious strategic skills that was holding me back.
I read like a dozen books and hundreds of posts on competitive strategy. Not an exaggeration. I literally read a dozen books.
Now I could draw flywheels and do 7 powers analysis in my sleep. Was it enough?
Nope. Because what people don’t tell you is when they talk about strategy in middle management they don’t actually mean strategy in a pure sense.
What they really want you to do is:
- Have a charter document with the vision and mission for your team.
- Know if you are on the right path while executing on your vision; know your north star
- Know your stakeholders and their objectives
- Identify the key dimensions
- Have a prioritized backlog
- Know the key themes across which your key backlog items can be grouped
- Set medium-term goals; plan your OKRs
- Set short term goals; plan your sprints
- Create a feedback loop through regular retrospectives
- Set up a process to collect insights from Research and Busines Intelligence
- Write a pitch doc for your big projects
- Specs for your projects with a clear why, what and how
- Learnings post MVP launch should dictate what does in the subsequent versions
- A GTM doc if you are launching a completely new product or a business line
- Business equation
- Send monthly update to align and update your stakeholders
You will find dozens of these process documents here: How to run a product team
Trust me, I have never seen anyone do 7 powers analysis or draw Porter’s 5 forces diagram in any of the company I have worked at.
Just do all the things I mentioned above. That’s it. Now you are someone who is strategic.