The idea that I should even think strategically did not occur to me for nine years – you are probably well ahead of me if you are doing this within eight years of your own company startup.
Actually when I understood what strategy was, (and how to write a business plan) the truth is, I suspect I must have been doing some of it – just not what I would now, relying on not much other than my own gut feel and knowledge of the market which we serviced.
Now that I know what strategic thinking is, I think one of the most important factors of really applying thought to a companies potential can only be achieved when we come out of our daily environment and all the pressures of customer demand to put uninterrupted time aside to really think through a businesses best potential avenues for growth. What is more you need to be with others around you – where possible – to help add their view on the fast changing marketplaces in which we all need to constantly look for unique propositions and points of advantage to succeed.
A significant but interesting thing that happened to me recently I think demonstrates clearly how important it is to take time out to think through all the parts of a companies performance and to review their status and then prioritising changes and investments that may need to be made. There is enormous importance of the challenges between all that we juggle in business and how one must prioritise the different parts of the eternal puzzle – which I never seem to complete!
I have recently been looking for a new professional fulfillment service and asked a mate for a list of the companies he rates – I like his software system and they use that to a shortcut to finding a company I know who can give me the warehouse and order management standards I am looking for.
Presented with a list of 5 options late one day I opted for the classic new approach and Googled each website with specific thinking in mind… OMG – what a lesson in the importance of keeping websites up to date and fresh… The relevance to the importance of strategy? Every part of a business is constantly going out-of date, from the minute we write a year plan and put it in a drawer we can guarantee it is out-of date quickly. Like the escalator to success, as soon as we polish off to near perfection one part of our business performance – the step revolving at the lower part of the escalator looks tarnished and we have a new challenge…
Consistency in a strategy, backed by clearly outlined and well-communicated values of the company are all useless unless relentlessly and passionately communicated from top down. This can be communicated in numerous ways to all the members of your organisation and with engagement of those throughout the company who can contribute to the accelerated likely success of achieving your goals.
I recognise that it is an eternal juggle to deliver business success, and I think any company must remain dynamic and flexible in its resolve but you must also have some backbone to the direction the company is intending to pursue. The consistency of the message is important to both your team and your customer base. A relentless awareness through studying your competition and a tireless desire to exceed customer expectations are powerful in enabling you to really form a strategy with a foundation that is likely to deliver success. Creating a strategy is not a blind pursuit of what you think is right for the market, but much more a well formed plan for the service priorities, points of difference and performance standards you need to deliver to build success.
Ultimately without strategic awareness people cannot support your intentions and expectations…
Skills & knowledge: A Cohesive management team with regular progressive meeting record and focus action plans which are then aligned to roles and rewards for performance are priceless assets in the forming of a strategy likely to succeed. (Companyshortcuts.com will help you learn process steps in putting together the best possible recruitment process and hence team…download the templates and apply them with rigour).