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A sound strategy matters now more than ever, is yours up to par?

December 8, 2018

Is the environment or competitive landscape in your industry changing? Is it harder to

source great talent? Are your customer’s expectations shifting? Do your responsibilities keep increasing? Many great leaders and organizations are facing heightened challenges because a) the pace of change is faster than ever, and b) what got them this far is not going to get them to the next level. A sound strategy that accounts for all of this is paramount to sustainable organizational success, now more than ever, but that doesn’t make it easy. 

Strategy development takes “art”, but it’s also a science, with particular components that, if done well, set you up for success. If you want to ensure your process and outcome (a great strategy!) are effective, here are 5 things that should be included, but might be missing.

  1. Clear assumptions or conditions that lead to your long-term strategy. At some point you decided that your current organizational strategy was the best choice. What if you asked all those involved how you landed on the strategy you chose; would they answer the same? A clear list of assumptions and conditions that lead you to that strategy will not only help you communicate it effectively to others, but let you know when it needs to change. At least annually, perform a check in, do the reasons you landed on your strategy still apply? If so, update your short-term goals based on your progress. If not, it’s time to reset.

  2. An honest review of current state. Take a big picture look at your organization and the marketplace. How are your employees doing?  Are they engaged, are they producing results? What do your customers say? How are you helping them succeed?  What’s happening in the market that could impact you? What are the best case and worst-case scenarios if you continue at status quo? To achieve your goal as a team or organization, you need to start with a good understanding of how far that is from where you are today. 

  3. A realistic assessment of what’s standing in your way. For you to be successful, what must go right?  Why haven’t you already succeeded here? Is there an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed? Make sure you’re accounting for all the hurdles in your strategic planning process, so you can clear your path to success. 

  4. A method for monitoring.  Do you have an unbiased measure of success that is directly tied to your strategy?  Make sure these are specific and tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are succeeding. These should not encompass everything that matters to your organization and should be different than what is always important.  For example, a publicly traded company can deliver a return on shareholder value without necessarily making progress on their long-term strategy. If that’s true that doesn’t mean that shareholder value doesn’t matter, it just isn’t the best measure of your strategy.

  5. The buy-in of your entire organization. It will take the efforts of your entire organization (and perhaps others) to realize your strategy. Getting buy-in will take more than communicating your strategy and making sure people “know” it. There are numerous ways to get there, but your entire team needs to be on board and working in the same direction for the best results. 

A strong strategy that is unique to the business, works within the marketplace, and has the buy-in of the team is invaluable for a company’s success. There is more that goes into great strategy development and execution, but these are a few components we see missing quite often. Now we’d love to hear your thoughts! Do any of these or other things stand out as critical and often missed components?

Do you have room to improve with creating or executing your strategy?  Luminaries Consulting can partner with you to:

  • Design a great strategic or annual planning process

  • Review your current approach and provide feedback

  • Facilitate your existing process so you can take the role of an active participant

  • Implement your strategy to create buy-in across the organization

  • Build out specific missing pieces of your strategy

  • Guide a team from your organization through addressing a particular strategic need

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