The seven deadly sins
in strategic planning

A.G Lafley has been recognized as the most successful CEO in the history of Procter&Gamble. At the beginning of all strategic renewal processes, he used to recall the seven deadly sins in strategy. With his messages, he put an entire multinational of more than 100,000 people on creative alert for the first of the three moments of truth that any organization periodically faces: definition, deployment and execution of strategy. Now we share this lessons that we apply on strategic consulting.

1. Competing for competition

A strategic plan that does not define winning avoids making decisions that would even create an opportunity to win.

This is how A.G. Lafley characterized the first and most dangerous of the seven deadly sins in any strategy. And this is an aspect that has been noted at ActioGlobal from it position as strategic consulting.

Since I still see today how these deadly sins are destroying the dreams and good intentions of many organizations, I think it is worth remembering them and starting to become aware of them. I continue with the six sins that complete the one described above.

2. Go for all

The strategy of doing all: not making decisions and making everything a priority. But never forget.

Strategy is about choosing either yes or no.

3. Don Quijote

Don Quixote’s strategy: attacking rival «walled cities» or fighting the fiercest competitor first, face to face.

Keep in mind, It is a strategic choice on where to compete for winning.

Let’s choose a setting where winning is possible through our superior value creation, we shall recommend as strategic consulting firm.

4. Waterloo

The Waterloo strategy: to initiate wars on multiple fronts with multiple competitors at the same time. Do not waste your Agile talent on it.

Remember, no company can pull it all off. If we try to win over everything, we won’t win over anything at all.

5. Crumbs for all

The crumb strategy for everyone: try to capture all channel or geographic or category segments at once.

Remember, strategy is to choose which consumers we will focus on to conquer and on whom we won’t.

6. Dreams

The strategy of dreams that never come true: high-level aspirations and mission statements that never become a reality. Strategies that fill pinboards and PowerPoints but do not define:


  • What winning is,
  • Where we will compete to win,
  • How we are going to win,
  • What capabilities we will develop to win and
  • What management systems we will set up to win.


Always keep in mind: Dreams are no strategies. The strategic decision making consists of answers to win with your consumers.

7. Me too

The look-alike strategy: the strategic solution for the generic market, where all competitors are after the same customers, the same geographical position and the same segments with identical approaches.

Never forget, the less your strategic distinguishes you, the less likely you are to win. Strategic decision making is all about this.

To wrap things up: we must be aware that in today’s markets sinning is not an option. One sin is the beginning of the end of your aspiration to compete for winning.


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