The Easy Street Strategy

Easy strategies that works are better than complex ones that don't.

I’m always on the lookout for an Easy Street Strategy.

I’ve been crafting various strategies for many different types of organisations since 2005.

This blog article will share my favourite approach to finding that powerful strategy that will benefit a client for years.

Here we go:

Table of Contents

    The Smooth Sailing Concept

    When it comes to crafting powerful strategies for different types of organisations, here’s what I’ve noticed:

    For whatever reasons, many freshly created strategies are challenging to implement. Few new strategies are just “a breeze.”

    But some new strategies just work.

    These breezy strategies are just smooth sailing from the start. They make everyone involved happier. All you hear in every meeting or conversation is “yes” and “of course”.

    While there might be lots of work involved, these easy-to-implement strategies somehow attract good work as if they were magnets.

    And when you finally encounter untested or unexpected territory, these strategies keep making sense.

    What kind of sorcery is this?
    I’ve come to call it the Easy Street Strategy.

    How the Easy Street Mindset Works

    I’ve discovered the power of the Easy Street Strategy when I turned 40 years old. During some mid-life introspection, I thought a lot about spending my time better. Not just professionally, but in my private life as well.

    It dawned on me that I had operated on a naive assumption that anything worthwhile must also be problematic.

    Obviously, I drew a diagram to illustrate this mind-shift:

    Maturity Model - Easy Street Strategy
    Shifting focus to the Easy Street Strategy.

    I realised that I had spent two decades in the immature zone by focusing a great deal of my energy where it wasn’t possible to influence the outcome. My accomplishments were due to fixing quite a few things that were difficult to fix. But still.

    I did waste quite a lot of energy on futile efforts.

    When I instead chose to take the mature route, I could still fix the same amount of hard-to-tackle challenges as before, but suddenly I had a solid base of easy wins to back everything up.

    If something comes easy to you or an organisation, maybe there’s a reason for that? Perhaps it’s easy because it naturally aligns with your or the organisation’s natural strengths and true Ikigai?

    Easy Does Not Equal Weak

    As an example, I like the example of Apple’s marketing philosophy as described below:

    Apple Strategy Document - Easy Street Strategy
    Ann example of strategic simplicity by Apple.

    Apple’s marketing philosophy is very clean and simple, almost basic and obvious for Apple at first glance, but its clarity is a big part of what makes it so powerful.

    As Albert Einstein once stated: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

    How To Write an Easy Street Strategy

    My insight about easy street strategies is that they tend to outperform other strategies that technically ought to be superior—but require lots of explaining, convincing, learning, testing, coaching etc.

    So, I’m always on the lookout for an Easy Street Strategy.

    Inspired by Richard Rumelt, here’s how to write your strategy on one single page:

    How to Write a 1-Page Strategy

    My inspiration for writing no-bullshit strategies comes from the classic Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt. This is how I set up strategies that fit on one page — using the mythical battle between David and Goliath as an analogy:

    1. Analysis

    • David can’t beat Goliath using his size or raw strength, but he has an advantage in speed and accuracy from a distance.

    2. Guiding Principle

    • David shouldn’t engage in close combat but rather use tools that will allow him to strike from a distance.

    3. Coherent Actions

    • David shouldn’t use any heavy armour because that would slow him down.
    • David should use a slingshot, a weapon he is familiar with and can strike from a distance.
    • David should leverage the element of surprise and don’t advertise his advantage beforehand.

    If you write 1-2 clear sentences per bullet, your strategy should fit nicely on one page. Please note: This is not a plan — the plan comes later based on the strategy.

    Put in another way:

    Sometimes a new strategy might be working fine, but it must be constantly reinforced and encouraged. Whenever that situation occurs, that to me serves as an indication that we’ve chosen the wrong strategy and that we should rethink our approach before we’re in too deep.

    Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Prints/Instagram)


    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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