Taking the stress out of strategy
Scared of Strategy?
We know that talk of strategy makes plenty of business leaders wary. After all, the world is full of high-charging management consultants who like to talk about ‘strategy’ a lot. And then send through a prettily produced document and bill.
But strategy does matter, And it mustn’t be allowed to become a dirty word in business. In fact, it matters so much it’s worth saying what it means: one useful definition describes it as the effort to align external opportunity with internal capability. You should add to this our belief that the right kind of strategy is also something for a business and its leaders to follow and swear by.
There are other ways to think about your plans, though, and it’s the creation of, and commitment to a different sort of plan. A genuinely strategic, lived and acted-upon plan that is at the heart of our thinking.
So now you know, strategy doesn’t’ have to be scary, how do you go about getting in the mindset for preparing a strategy for you business?
Here are our top tips:
1. Get inspired
Without doubt many owners of smaller businesses think that strategy sounds like something that’s nice in theory but a bit corporate. A bit irrelevant to the daily juggling and distractions of the reality of keeping the lights on and the show on the road.
Where exactly does inspiration or passion fit in? Right at the beginning no less! We think it’s the starting point for everything. Companies are started by passion and belief. The point about creating a new strategy for the business as it looks now, is to reignite that passion and belief for the business and where it is headed. And apply it in a structured way every day.
Harnessing all that knowhow and enthusiasm is not something that’s achievable in one giant, transformative leap. But by making lots and lots of small changes in many areas you will soon find you are in fact doing something big anyway.
Once the journey is embarked on, with real enthusiasm and passion for where things are headed, you might be surprised how quickly positive change follows.
2. Clarity not complication
Many businesses start out relatively simple and get more complicated – and more challenging to run.
Business is usually pretty simple – and when it starts to feel like there is too much happening and things are out of control then it’s time to make things simple again.
How? By getting on with creating that real-world strategy that starts with your passions and looks in detail at the business from all sides:
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Products or services
- Customers and their needs
- The people
- Competition out in the marketplace
- Your aspirations as a leader
The purpose of this sort of analysis is not just to create an up-to-date list of headline points. But to start drilling down into the detail and then to take some big calls on how things need to be. And to make the necessary change.
3. Make your strategy come alive!
If this fills you with any kind of dread, we’ve good news: in our experience the main resource you need to get things moving in the right direction is TIME. Just enough of it to set aside all the operational issues so you can stop and think.
4. Start with a day
How long will it take? Well, a committed day is a great first step. When was the last time that all the company’s stakeholders came together for a whole day to look at the medium to long-term plans for the business? In all likelihood it was a while ago or has even never happened. Even if it is something that does happen on occasion, are they really focused on strategy or do they see everyone involved talking shop and getting mired in operational issues?
One way to ensure that a day of talk isn’t time wasted it to bring in an outsider to facilitate it and make sure it stays on track. Just as non-executive directors can bring fresh perspectives to some boardrooms, having someone at a strategy away day who is detached and focused on the objectives of the day could prove the difference between more chat and real strategic change.
Getting started with any strategy can often feel overwhelming. But hopefully this has taken some of the stress out of getting started with your strategy.
If you’d like more information about how Business Doctors can help your business with it’s strategy, get in touch.
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