3 Strategy Questions You Should Always Ask Before Moving Forward

3 people thinking about their corporate strategy

Successful business leaders know how important a robust strategy is.

They need it to carry them through the good and the bad times. But do you know how strong your business strategy is…really? Can you identify where it may not hold up, where it is weak and faulty?

To be sure your plan for growth is a sound one you should always be clear on the following three basics:

  1. When Push Comes to Shove – What Are We Really About?
    While it is true that companies must excel at and balance many areas simultaneously to be effective, most high growth companies are crystal clear about what they are really about when push comes to shove – People, Clients, Products or Finances.For example, a recent financial services client decided that, at their core, they are really about making money for shareholders. That does not mean that they ignore their customers, treat their employees poorly or underinvest in their offerings.  It just means that their strategic decisions, performance culture and investments will always lean toward making money.  This focus allows them to create alignment between their strategy, culture and talent.Another technology client decided that they were really about producing the best products in the world.  Accordingly, they aligned their corporate culture and talent strategies to focus, first and foremost, on product development and innovation.Alternatively, a recent services client identified people (attracting and keeping top talent) as their core growth driver.  They put their people first.  That makes sense for who they are and how they compete and win.  They still need to exceed customer expectations, do great work and make money, but for them, it all starts with great people.

    Once you have decided upon your primary focus, you can allocate energy and resources accordingly. The key is not to dilute your strategy, performance culture or talent plan by trying to be too many things to too many people – internally or externally.

  2. Are We Only Measuring What Really Matters?
    It’s tempting with today’s technology and the growth of data analytics to have a long list of variables that might indicate the direction your organization is moving. But, just like an ERP system that offers too much functionality without getting the most important stuff right, too many metrics can take your eye off the ball.Determine the handful of leading and lagging success metrics most critical for you and your business. Let the others go. The simpler the better when it comes to analyzing the data that will drive your decisions and the behaviors of those around you. Multi-page reports with confusing graphs and too many asterisks cloud the situation rather than clarify it.
  3. Do You Reward the Right Things and Hold Each Other Accountable?
    Identify the core behaviors you want from your employees. What do they need to do and how do they need to act to be successful? For your strategy to succeed, you need to create the organizational culture to support it in a way that attracts, engages and retains the talent to implement it. Be very intentional about creating the performance environment your business needs to thrive. Then weed out those who do not fit the strategy or culture as quickly and as compassionately as possible. The goal is to have a motivated, engaged, fully performing work force that is committed to the organization and its mission.

When all is said and done, no strategy is guaranteed to work forever. You must constantly be on the alert for changes in the market that could undermine your plan. Stay on top of current events that could upset your strategy and maintain open communication so you are told by employees when there are issues of concern. Climb out of your ivory tower and mix with the masses so you are told the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Is your strategy clear enough?  Go here for a free online strategy assessment.

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