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  • Varun Mallapragada

The Strategy Formula

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Strategy is the culmination of all the perspectives you've gained
Strategy is the culmination of all the perspectives you've gained

Strategy is one of those words that’s used and abused to make things sound very important.

Guess what, strategy is actually really important!

For those who don’t really get into strategy, it can be complicated at best and intimidating at worst. I don’t think “strategy” can be entirely taught as it relies heavily on empathy, creativity, communication and perspective.

Strategy is not a plan. A list of actions/tactics with timelines and set resources is a plan. Strategy is much more than that.

Strategy is like a bridge that takes you from where you are to where you want to be.

I’ve always wondered if strategies could be developed based on formulae.

I don’t know what I don’t know, but I know I am on to something with my random obsession with defining a formula for strategy.

(Empathy + Creativity + Storytelling) x Perspective = Strategy

[Empathy + Creativity + Storytelling] x Perspective = Strategy
[Empathy + Creativity + Storytelling] x Perspective = Strategy

Let’s break down each variable in the strategy equation:

Empathy - The information

Empathy is that one thing everyone talks about and it’s critical for you to understand the context, people, places, etc.

Empathy has 2 parts to it here:

  1. You gather data by being empathetic

  2. You analyse data in an empathetic manner

Creativity - The thought

I think Einstein said “creativity is intelligence having fun” because you are creative when your cognitive abilities are fuelled by critical thinking.

Creativity requires problem-solving based on insights via divergent thinking and convergent thinking. A positive mindset is essential for creativity.

Storytelling - The voice

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity”, through stories you can use the power of persuasion to bring people together and back your cause.

Your narrative is the key to unleashing your strategy and applying it. Telling stories is human.

Perspective - The multiplier

Perspective is strength. Perspective helps you with exponential growth. Perspective matters the most.

Everything in life is a double-edged sword, and so is perspective.

Before you get too excited about gathering random people with varied perspectives, here is a quote that I recently came across:

“Your perspective will either become your prison or your passport”

This means that if you get perspective wrong, your perspective multiplier in the formula is <1, meaning, your strategy fails, so do the math!

How does it all come together to form a strategy, you ask?

It’s an equation so it surely must be measurable - “measure twice, cut once!”

Empathy helps you gather and comprehend the dots - perspective teaches you to be empathetic.

Creativity is connecting the dots in a meaningful way - perspective helps you find the right dots to connect.

Storytelling sets the narrative for the connected dots - perspective helps you craft that narrative.

Narratives have the capacity to transcend beyond the typical human life span and take their spot in history and you see what perspective does, right?

Now, strategy is the result of all the different perspectives you've gathered all your life and put together to form a plan that will help solve a specific problem.

In other words, strategy is what you do when you want to change what you're doing.

Strategy is what aligns you with external changes, and enables you to adapt and make the most of your situation.

I would define strategy as the culmination of all the perspectives you’ve gained to develop an approach that solves a specific problem.

In business and life:

  • Vision

  • Mission

  • Strategy

  • Roadmap

  • Plan & Tactics

  • Execution

  • Support

If you take a closer look at the above list, Strategy bridges the gap between what you want to do and what you are currently doing.

The quality of your strategy is reliant on a few things:

  1. Perspective & Empathy

  2. Relevant experience

  3. A certain level of skill

  4. External forces (market trends, stakeholders, capital, etc)

  5. Communication

The above factors keep changing.

Strategy is not something that you develop once and will remain constant. It should be dynamic and adaptive in nature.

Since we all know that change is the only true constant, you can plan around it.

You need to optimise your strategy to adapt to changes in your ecosystem, and we all know that “change” is the only true constant.

So, always strategize but don’t get stuck in that limbo between thinking and doing, keep moving!

“Strategy without execution is useless—Execution without strategy is aimless.”



Varun Mallapragada

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