A Yoruba proverb says that Gidigba ko si ‘lekun afi eni to ba ni kokoro lowo. Don’t worry if you don’t understand Yoruba language, I will help you. What this proverb simply means, literally, is that your strength or size cannot open a firmly locked door unless you have the key.
Well, you could argue that your strength can be used to break the door in the absence of a key, but I bet you could end up breaking a rib in the process.
That proverb confirmed itself recently when I was trying to open a door to one of the rooms in the house. I searched everywhere but couldn’t find the key. So, I attempted to force the door open. I pushed, shook, and turned the knob by force; but the door remained adamant.
Not until my 8-year old daughter suddenly found the key. She rushed to the door, inserted the key, turned it, and that was it. The door swung open wide!
Then I remembered that same proverb. My daughter has a smaller size to mine, but the door obeyed her because she had the key.
Strategy serves as the key that opens doors of opportunities. It opens almost every door. You may not know it, but each step you take both in your personal and business life is based on strategy. The better your strategy, the higher your chances of success.
You plan before you get married. You plan before building a house. You plan before cooking. You plan before going to the bathroom. You plan before working…You plan before doing almost anything in life. Those are strategies. They may not be written down, but they are actions. They are your strategies.
In their book, How to Think Strategically, Davide Sola and Jerome Couturier describe strategy as “a set of coordinated, creative and sustainable actions (a plan) designed to overcome one or more challenges that create value.” So, your actions, your plans, your efforts, serve as the key to achieving your goals.
Strategy differentiates achievers from non-achievers. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Your plan or strategy, therefore serves as your key to success. As mentioned earlier, the size of your body cannot open a door. It is the key in your hand that does the job. Your strategy is your key.
Take note, however, that a strategy is not that well written document kept in a drawer somewhere. No. it isn’t. Rather, it is the actions taken. Execution, therefore, is the heart of any good strategy. That’s why Davide and Jerome have defined strategy as a set of coordinated, creative, and sustainable actions.
That’s what makes winners win.