Are your next leaders ready?


“A company without a strategy is willing to try anything.”
Powerful words from strategy expert Michael Porter

At the top of many of the brilliant organisations we work with are leadership teams that care about the future success of their business. This means upskilling the next generation of leaders. 

Strategic planning is a core area of training for this group.  The terms ‘strategy’ and ‘strategic planning’ remain opaque to many.

Sport can help demystify this area. Why? Because sport lends itself brilliantly to one of the most simple but effective strategic planning frameworks there is. Which means it’s a great way for people to get their heads round it and start applying it.

The Framework?
O. S. T.  Yes, that simple.


Objective – what is your aim? What are you trying to achieve?

Strategy – your strategy(ies) to achieve that objective. The key ideas you need to put in place to achieve your objective – should be memorable and easily repeatable.

Tactics – your tactics on the ground to meet your strategy(ies).  This is how you visibly implement the strategy.

So it’s about having a clear objective, choosing specific strategies, backing these up with tactics on the ground, writing this down, and then sticking to it! 

Alistair Campbell writes about this framework extensively in his book Winners.  The model is used across politics, business and sport.  Sport provides some brilliant examples of OST planning.

Sir Clive Woodward, when England Rugby Manager, had the following OST:

Objective - Win the world cup.

Strategy - Excellence through attention to detail.

Tactics – All the myriad of marginal gains that he introduced.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Man Utd

Objective – win games and then titles consistently, first in England and then Europe.

Strategy – Control and talent (his strategy was to garner complete “control” in the board and dressing rooms, to grow “talent” and to remind everyone that no individual was bigger than the club). 

Sir Ben Ainslie (Olympic sailor)

Objective – win the race.

Strategy – All about defining how you believe the wind and currents are going to act – they would have indepth models of what the wind and the current might do, and defined the strategy before the start: if this happens, we do this; if this happens, we do that.

Tactics – Sir Ben said “Strategy is about how we managed the weather and the environment. Once you are into the race, it is pretty much all tactical, but within your strategic frame.

How you define your objective is key.

And of course this is often more complicated in the business world than it is in the world of sport. So we help people understand the framework and learn how to apply it to their world to make sure they achieve their aims.

Leading Strategy is Module #3 of our Winning Leadership Programme. If you’re ready to invest in YOUR next leaders, find out more by emailing us on

Catherine BAKERComment