In this brief article, we list six traits of a great business strategy and a great strategy process. These are the most important factors which we see many companies and organizations need to consider. However, this is also where many fail in practice.
Be a story that makes sense
Your strategy is your story. It’s how you inspire and rally the masses. What’s important with any story is that it should be memorable and make sense to people. Here simplicity is vital. Use simple language, clear visualizations and sober graphics. Have your marketing or communications team have a look at the storyline and help you put it together nicely.
Be bold yet tangible
Your strategy has to be bold and ambitions, if you want to aim high and beat your competitors. This is important to reach your goals and to inspire your people. While being bold, it must also be tangible and concrete. It has to be something that people in your organization can take action on today. You should also make sure it includes clear answers to questions which people in your organization are wondering about.
Be externally aware and customer-centric
We’ve discussed customer focus and external market research earlier, but we can’t stress this enough. Many strategy processes become internally focused, and this you must avoid at all costs. Make sure you listen to customers, understand your market, look at competitors, understand new trends, etc.
Be data-driven and measurable
Using solid data points is important for your analysis, so that you end up with the right conclusions. This is also a good way of cutting lengthy discussions short, and solve conflicts. When it comes to setting your aspirations, you must make sure everything is quantified and measurable. Otherwise you’ll definitely have a hard time realizing your vision.
Be a continuous or reoccurring work
We believe that strategy should be a continuous work, not a hyped project that you do every 3-5 years. Instead you should look at what management systems and support functions you need to put in place, to make this a recurring iterative work. This way you can do smaller strategy updates 1-2 times per year, and perhaps consider larger directional changes every fifth year.
Be less talk, and more action
Often strategy processes seem to be all talk and no action. Don’t get us wrong, the discussion is important, but sometimes these types of processes get people talking about everything and nothing, which just wastes time. You should structure and document the process continuously to make sure you produce actual outcomes. Also, you will never get consensus, so sometimes you just have to put your foot down and make everyone commit, even if they don’t agree.
Do you want to know more or need help with a project related to this topic? Talk to us on firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help. We always welcome your queries and feedback.