Have a Strategy that Drives Improved Performance
What is a strategy? I like to think of a strategy as the things you are going to do differently in your business to achieve different results – faster growth, greater efficiency, new innovation, more engaged customers. Simple.
But creating a guiding strategy for your business is anything but simple. There are 2 things I see in businesses that are called “strategy” but fail to meet the above definition. In my experience, they also fail to achieve different results.
Revenue Targets as a Strategy
This is the most common thing an executive will tell me is their “strategy.” How do you act on a revenue target? Usually, the team will interpret a revenue target that is higher than last year as a signal that they should work harder, hire more people, spend more in marketing, etc. However, all of these activities have no new direction, no focus, nothing that will align the teams.
Businesses that have a revenue target as a strategy are most likely to experience erratic sales growth, overinvestment in sales and marketing, and misaligned teams.
Tactics as a Strategy
The second most common thing I see is a set of tactical activities as the “strategy.” Tactical plans are what your teams do every day. Here are some examples of tactical activities that try to disguise themselves as strategy:
- Marketing campaigns
- Sales programs
- Operational checklists
- Financial budgets
If your “strategy” looks like these things, ask yourself a question: “Why are we executing these particular plans?”
The “why” is the most important part of your strategy
A good strategy articulates “why” you want your teams to do particular things (i.e., create their plans in a certain way). The reality is: There are always a million great things we can do. The question is – what are the most important things we should do?
And if you are going to do the most important things you should do to improve the performance of your business, you must understand where you want to be in the future. And if you want to be someplace different, then you must do different things.
Thusly, we get to the definition that I provided at the beginning of this blog: How to create a strategy that answers “why” for your entire organization
There is a particular thought process that your leadership team needs to go through to answer the “why” in a way that can align and mobilize all of your teams.
Herein lies the foundational truth of Strategy Automation. Every single (good) strategy methodology takes you through the same thought process. Strategic elements may have different terms – BHAG, imperatives, rocks, brand promises, vision definition, target markets, market segmentation, personas, stakeholders, value proposition, blah blah blah.
You can call these elements anything you want, but you are answering this: Who are you selling to and why do they care? If you give them what they want, where can it take your company?
If you go through a strategic thought process, you WILL have a strategy that will answer “why” for your organization. And that is the foundation for alignment, focus, and execution that will deliver better results.
Strategy automation makes it easier by simply walking you through this process together as a leadership team, documenting your strategy along the way. Once your strategy is defined, you are ready for the next step.
Check back in the coming weeks for more posts in this series to better understand how Strategy Automation works.