Essential Strategy is a simplified approach for integrating strategy, risk, and resilience to improve performance and long-term sustainability.


How do we get there?

Discovery focuses on the analysis of internal and external alignment, drivers, constraints and capabilities in an intelligence gathering process.

Visioning ensures our purpose is a defining cause that is aspirational, inspirational and participatory.

Pathfinding is the problem-solving stage, taking data to support decisions that align with Purpose, drive Growth and anticipate Evolution.

Performance is forward-looking, creating expectations for outcomes and decision triggers that are the hallmark of a nimble organization.

We follow a 4-step process of Discovery, Visioning, Pathfinding and Performance-setting.



Discovery is all about capture and analysis of internal and external intelligence that helps us identify gaps and misalignments that could undermine strategy. The primary objective of the Discovery phase is to understand where the organization is disconnected or misaligned, as well as where it has strengths and is successfully innovating. What flows logically from this step is development of the Critical Path objectives for growth and survival, as well as clearly defining what success of vision and mission looks like. 


Visioning sets the tone for the organization by creating or affirming its aspirational future-state, as well as the mechanism for achieving it. Visioning pulls in mission, values and history to create a story that resonates with those served and inspires those who are serving. In visioning, we focus on creating an aspirational yet actionable vision of the future that invites participation of all involved. 


Pathfinding is where knowledge gained in Discovery is aligned with Visioning to define strategic imperatives that deliver on Purpose, drive Growth and build resilience to ensure long-term survival through Evolution. We use the Critical Path mechanism to create priority and change our focus from entrenchment to adaptation.  Pathfinding is where everything comes together. With a clear vision from the Board and the business intelligence built by the leadership team, this main event is where much of the design work for strategy is accomplished. 


Performance moves into the development of a realistic and feasible structure to accomplish the work and achieve intended results. It requires defining success metrics, communication plans and agile reporting to support a living, breathing program that will allow for an agile and informed strategy that keeps pace with both industry and market. This phase is as important as the planning process itself. Too often, the process stops with the creation of strategic goals - that is a mistake. The typical organization only has about 20% capacity to take on new work, so we need to give due consideration to how a new or evolving strategic plan can be operationalized and successfully implemented.