8 Strategy Questions to Minimize Confusion and Inaction

a graphic of multiple businessmen confused by which path to take among criss-crossed roads

A clear, believable and implementable business strategy is the bedrock of a high performing organization.

Without it, your employees lack direction, are confused about where they are headed and why, and spend far too much time in unproductive or misguided efforts.

The best leaders begin by creating a business strategy that outlines clear and compelling choices about what actions to take and where to “play.” The planners’ goal is to create a strategy that is understood, agreed to, perceived to be up to the challenge by all stakeholders, and supported by sufficient resources to truly succeed. This is neither simple nor easy.

Here are some key questions to ask as you begin…

  1. What are the critical few business goals of your organization?
    Make sure you are specific. Just wanting “to be the best in the industry” is too generic and not very inspiring. A statement like “to be the market share leader for outdoor camping equipment in Northern California” is far more compelling and uses language that is results-oriented.
  2. What are the specific outcomes of your strategy?
    To get where you want to go, you need to plan and execute specific actions that will get you there. Create a concrete roadmap outlining the purpose, the picture of success, the plan and the part each stakeholder will play. Agree upon how you will prioritize resources. Perhaps you need to invest in a marketing campaign, or a broader product portfolio, or an online sales fulfillment process. Whatever path you choose, it should measurably impact your overarching goal.
  3. How will you know you’re on the right track?
    You need to track your progress and make smart adjustments along the way. You may want to monitor the success of your marketing campaign in terms of the number of new customers generated; or evaluate the success of your new products by how much revenue they are producing; or determine the desirability of online sales by a survey on how your target customers prefer to shop…in a bricks-and-mortar store or on the internet.

Once you have designed and communicated your strategy, are you satisfied that you have all key constituents on board and pointed in the same direction? Test the effectiveness of your strategic plan by asking the following questions:

  1. Do employees regularly ask for more clarifying information before they act?
  2. Do key stakeholders continue to disagree on major priorities, resources, funding or timing?
  3. Do employees doubt that the strategy is equal to the challenge of the business goal?
  4. Is the strategy being executed inconsistently throughout the organization?
  5. Do employees lack the right mindset to effectively execute the plan?

If you answer “yes” to any of these last 5 questions, you have more strategic clarity work to do before you can effectively cascade and implement your strategic plan.

To learn more, download Is Your Strategy Clear Enough to Act?

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