How to turn a strategic vision into reality

by Kara Baski

Too often, companies get lost in buzzwords that muddle a clear path for the future or offer vague platitudes instead of precise goals. Here’s a guide for turning vision into guidelines for action.

“Strategy is a framework to guide critical choices to achieve a desired future,” said MIT Sloan senior lecturer Donald Sull in a new MIT Sloan Management Review webinar.But companies frequently hamstring themselves. Too often companies get lost in jargon. Sull has made a Mad Libs-style chart of overused buzzwords — fallback words like “digitize” and “monetize” and “leverage” — to illustrate how often companies overinflate their vision. Other times, companies lay out an overly detailed long-term plan. The problem with this overambitious method is that “no plan survives contact with reality,” he said.Instead, a strategic vision must be detailed enough to lay out a clear vision while being broad enough to allow for flexibility and adjustment.

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