I'm a consultant and advisor  for social enterprises - using business to change the world.

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The Definition Of Strategy

Strategy is such an overused buzzword, which is a real shame. It’s often used as a generic word to mean “Plan” or “Approach”, without actually shaping the decisions we make day to day.

TDi co-founder Paul Steele was the one who changed my mind on the concept. He said:

“The definition of Strategy is saying no to good things”

It’s profound in its’ simplicity. Talking about what we’re going to do is exciting. New opportunities give us an excited feeling of optimism for the future, but can ultimately become distractions. The hard part, the execution of strategy, is when we have to say “No” to something, even if it has merit.

This means accepting that we can’t do everything. We can’t be everything. We can’t master every sales channel, serve every possible customer, and meet every request that asked of us by the market. By saying “No” to the good things, we give ourselves the ability to say yes to the best things.

This skill does not come naturally, it’s one that we learn and need to practice.

It’s why clarity of vision is so critical, because saying no is hard. By keeping the vision and strategy in mind at all times, we empower our teams to make good decisions, ones that will lead to us delivering on our strategy.

This isn’t just at work either; it also applies to how you spend your own money and your time.

Here’s a test; Look at how your friends decide how to spend Christmas Day, or their annual leave. Look at how much money they budget for holidays vs saving for a deposit. Do these decisions look crazy to you?

Each of these are about saying Yes to what you value, then defending that yes with a thousand No’s.


What are you willing to say “No” to? 

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