The anatomy of the One Page Strategic Plan - Part 1, Strategy

Someone once said “A strategy without a plan is a hallucination”, someone else said “A vision is a dream with a plan” and Sun Tsu said “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”. So, it is clear that both strategy and execution are equally as important. Some organisations are good at strategy but poor on execution and some go the other way. To successfully scale your business we all need to be good at both, but that is not enough…

This is the first of a series of two blog posts that focuses on the Anatomy of the One Page Strategic Plan. This first post breaks down the Core Ideologies and Strategy components of the OPSP. The second post in the series will then move to how we capture the execution aspects of our strategy.

Even when we are good at formulating strategy and defining an execution plan, we still need to find a way of communicating the plan to our teams and there is no better way than getting the strategy and the execution plan onto a single page, a one page strategic plan.

The Gazelles One Page Strategic Plan is a tool that captures concisely the core of your business, your strategy, your long term medium term and short term goals along with a plan of how to execute them. That is a lot to get on one page (even if it is an A3 page) so you need to be concise.

This article shows you how to navigate through the anatomy of the one page plan. In other articles, I’ll drill down into the individual sections of the plan in more detail.

This is the One Page Strategic Plan and it is effectively divided into two distinct sections, one focused on Core Ideology and Strategy and the second focused on how we execute on this strategy.


Breaking the plan down into even smaller sections and focusing first on Core Ideologies and Strategy, this next picture shows the different sections in the OPSP. I'll summarise each of these below the picture.


Core Values

Core Values are the 3 - 8 guiding principles that describes how your company should and shouldn't behave. They are the central and enduring beliefs that when properly articulated, re-inforced and (over) communicated will attract people aligned to your values and repel the people who don't share your values. They are fundamental to the nature of your business. Core Values were originally defined by Jim Collins in his classic book "Built to Last".

Core Purpose

A business' core purpose is the reason for being, the motivating force behind the organisation. It is what gets it's people out of bed in the morning day after day. An effecive purpose reflects the idealistic motivations for doing what the business does (not how).

Taken together, the Core Values and the Core Purpose represent the Core Ideologies of the business.


Most companies these days have a purpose statement and a list of core values, but most companies don't reinforce them within the organisation and they are often not living within the organisation. Companies that genuinely understand their values and purpose also know that they need to be alive and reinforced and this section, the Actions, define what the organisation needs to do regularly to reinforce and keep alive the values and purpose.

Profit per X

A business' Profit per X is a single metric or KPI that captures the essense of the organisation's economic engine. It is what enables them to grow and make significantly more profit that their competitors.


The BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goal represents the quantifiable and measurable 10 to 25 year goal that aligns with the Purpose and the Profit Per X.

3 - 5 Year Targets

As we move into column 3 of the OPSP, the plan becomes progressively more detailed. The 3 - 5 Year Targets define where we want to be as a business at our next big step on our way to achieving our BHAG. The 3 - 5 year targets should be aspirational, ambitious but still measurable. As an example we might set targets for revenue, profit, market capitalisation and of course, a date by when these targets need to be achieved.

Key Thrusts

The Key Thrusts are the chess moves that we have decided to play to achieve our 3 - 5 year targets. They could be acquisitions, expansions, new product launches or distribution partnerships. They are the things that we are going to do in the medium to long term to get us to our growth objectives.

Brand Promises and Brand Promise KPIs

The Brand Promises are the (1 - 3) things you will need to do for your customers that make your business different from your competitors. The KPIs (Kept Promise Indicators not Key Performance Indicators) are how you measure whether you are meeting your promises to your clients. If you don't meet your promises to your customers, then it should hurt (also known as a catalytic mechanism).

And that is the Core Ideologies and Strategy section of the One Page Strategic Plan. In the next post in this series, I'll move on from Strategy to how we Execute on this strategy.


Posted by : ged | On Monday, 12 June 2017 | Modified On Wednesday, 03 January 2018


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