How to Better Set Strategic Priorities Designed to Win

How to Better Set Strategic Priorities Designed to Win
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Set Strategic Priorities
It’s one thing to draft a corporate strategy; it’s another to successfully and consistently execute your strategy across an organization.  And the more ambitious your goals, the more clarity, focus, and perseverance you will need to get there.   While strategic priorities certainly change over time, top leaders ensure that they and their teams set strategic priorities designed to win.

When you want to maximize the impact of achieving your strategy, the importance of prioritization cannot be overestimated to best accelerate decision making, allocate resources, and maximize trade-offs.

First Things First – Strategic Drivers Set the Context
Before you set strategic priorities for the next 12-36 months, you need to have a solid foundation of five strategic drivers:

  • Vision
    We define a company’s vision as “What the organization hopes to become – the business you will be in tomorrow.” The best vision statements provide an inspiring, motivating, challenging, memorable, and unique picture of where the business is headed.
  • Mission
    A company’s mission articulates why the company’s work matters. The clearer you can be about the business you are in and your fundamental purpose, the easier it is to define a successful strategy that your key stakeholders — employees, owners and customers alike — can rally behind.
  • Values
    Corporate values define the fundamental beliefs of an organization and serve as the foundation for not only how you behave, but also who you hire, fire, promote, and reward.
  • Ideal Target Clients
    High growth companies are almost three times as likely to be highly specific and detailed about who they serve. Why?  Because ideal target customers who fit you best don’t just buy your stuff; they passionately buy and use what you have to offer.
  • Unique Value Proposition
    High growth companies are also three times more likely to have a differentiated value proposition.  Knowing what clearly sets you apart in the eyes of your target clients is the final piece of strategic context required to effectively set your strategic priorities.  Clients don’t just need what you offer; they feel they must have what you offer.

Although many leaders believe that their strategic drivers are clear enough to begin to set strategic priorities, our organizational alignment research found that employees believe that these strategic drivers are 50% less clear to them than to the executive team.  Without clear and agreed upon vision, mission, values, target client, and value proposition statements, managers and employees report that they are missing the guiding principles required to know what matters most – especially when things change.

Next, High Performance Success Metrics Set the Bar
Once you have established your strategic drivers, it is time to define what high performance goals look like over the next 12-36 months.   We recommend selecting two or three leading or lagging metrics that carry fifty percent or more of the weight regarding what matters most.

For example, one client looking to enter a new market selected new client acquisition and new client satisfaction as their two main strategic success metrics.  While they had many things on their plate, they knew that these two metrics mattered most to achieve their vision.

Another client striving to scale selected profitable growth rate and client renewals as their overall strategic measures of high performance.  While they also needed to realign some teams and divest some products, they knew that growing their current client base profitably was the key to higher performance.

The key is to identify and agree upon what really matters above all else in helping you get to where you want to go.

The Bottom Line
Getting these strategic drivers right is harder than it may seem.  We found that only 30% of companies have enough strategic clarity to effectively set strategic priorities.  Once you have aligned the top team on the strategic drivers, you can then begin to actively involve your teams to identify the strategy, culture, and talent priorities required to make it happen that make sense for your unique situation.

To learn more about how to create the strategic clarity required to better set priorities, download 7 Proven Ways to Stress Test Your Strategy Now

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