How to build a solid strategy

A strategy should be the fundamental foundations from which a company should operate. A strategy should clearly set out the direction within which a company intends to go and how it is going to get there.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But the fact is that many organisations create a ‘strategy’ which all too often falls short of what it needs to do. Why:  

  • Strategies are often not strategies at all: Strategies are not simply a goal such as ‘To be number one in the market’. A strategy should clearly define and outline, what it intends/needs to do and what it is NOT going to do. A strategy should include a clear calculated plan that addresses the need and demonstrates how it will be achieved.
  • Poor Tactical Planning: Describing what you want to achieve is usually the easier part, explaining how you are going to achieve it takes resources, thought leadership, and requires a holistic mindset. For example, if the aim is to grow revenue, the answer isn’t purely a commercial one. Yes, increasing margin and volume can support in this growth, but can you improve your efficiency in route to market to reduce costs, have you got solid marketing plans to increase demand, do you have the right people with the right skills to deliver the plan, are your invoicing terms and processes maximise cash flow? A solid strategic plan looks at all the touchpoints that can impact its aim.
  • Top down: Creating a strategy is often done by the senior members/board of an organisation. Whilst they may have more authority, it doesn’t mean that they have all the knowledge. In fact, quite the opposite. The more senior you get, the more distanced from the detail you should become. Whilst strategies are more holistic, you need to truly understand the nuts and bolts of a business to understand where the challenges and the opportunities lie. Sound strategies are built from both the top down and bottom up, gaining input from all levels and functions of an organisation.
  • Badly communicated: Once the strategic plan is devised it is critical that the vision and plan is shared with everyone in the organisation. Many businesses fail to execute their strategic plan because they don’t onboard their teams with the plan. Be sure to communicate the plan in a logical manner. Pull out the elements that are valid to the audience. This should not be ‘death by PowerPoint!’
  • Culture hinders not embraces: Sometimes a strategic plan warrants to do things differently, be radical in approach or take risks. This may go against the grain for the innate culture of an organisation. If your new strategy means do different rather than do more of the same, ensure your culture can embrace this change not hinder it. This change is required to come from top down. Teams need to see the senior teams adopting, living and breathing this new way of doing things, making the difficult decisions and step changing how things are ordinarily done. Provide the environment within which they too can demonstrate this new way and reinforce the benefits how it will make a difference.
  • So, be strategic in your strategies. Consider all the angles, the detailed plan and not just the goal. Take others with you by involving them in the process and the idea generation and communicate the shared plan. If you get that right, you really can achieve your business goal.

    If you need support in creating a strategy that is a strategy, please contact us at:

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