The Right Strategy Questions to Ask Before Moving Forward

3 people thinking about the Right Strategy questions to ask

Smart Leaders Know the Right Strategy Questions to Ask
Successful business leaders know how important a robust strategy is.  Successful leaders also know the right strategy questions to ask before they move toward action.

The Right Strategy Questions Help Create Strategic Clarity
Our organizational alignment research found strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing teams.  Strategic clarity carries teams through the good and the bad times.

The Three Right Strategy Questions to Ask Before Moving Forward
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?
One of the first right strategy questions to ask is about focus.  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 – Is it 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 under invest in their offerings.  It just means that their strategic decisions, performance culture and investments will always lean toward making money.
  • 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.

3.  Do You Reward the Right Things and Hold Each Other Accountable?
The last of the right strategy questions to ask is about accountability.  Accountability starts with identifying 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 culture 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.

The Bottom Line
While no strategy is guaranteed to work forever, knowing the right strategy questions to ask can keep everyone working toward a common goal in a way that makes sense. You must constantly be on the alert for internal or external changes 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.

To learn more about your level of strategic clarity, download 7 Strategic Clarity Warning Signs to Pay Attention To

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The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

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