How to Develop the Right Strategy to Win

How to Develop the Right Strategy to Win
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How to Develop the Right Strategy
When you can develop the right strategy — one that is clear, agreed-upon and achievable — you are set up to win the game and outperform your competition.

Top 10 Signs of a Bad Strategy
Let’s start with the most common signs of a bad strategy.  Too many of us know what can happen with a strategic plan that is fuzzy, ill-conceived, or non-implementable. The typical signs of an ill-conceived strategy include:

  • Lost market share
  • Increased finger-pointing
  • Frequent back-channeling
  • Failure to reach goals
  • Lack of collaboration
  • Shrinking margins and profits
  • Decreased confidence in leadership
  • Lower employee engagement
  • Increased attrition
  • Shifting priorities
  • Conflicted success metrics

The above list is not fun.  It really matters that you develop the right strategy.

Five Tips to Develop the Right Strategy
Here are five tips on how to develop the right strategy to get the results you want:

1.  Actively Include All Employees
While this is easier for smaller team and companies, the level of active involvement in strategy design has a direct correlation to strategic success.  In fact, recent McKinsey research found that just involving at least seven percent of employees creates a 2x return to shareholders compared to companies that involve less than seven percent.

The more you give people a chance at input either as individuals or through their group or department, the better the chances that each team aligns their team strategy to the overall strategy.

2.  Answer the Key Questions
Give your employees key strategic questions to consider. Examples include:

  • Who do we really want to be as an organization?  What is is visionMissionCore values?
  • Who are our ideal target clients where we should win the majority of the time?
  • What is our unique value proposition that makes us better, faster, and/or cheaper than the competition?
  • What pressures do we face in the next 12-18 months?
  • What risks do we face and how should we prepare to deal with them?
  • What are our greatest opportunities and how can we take advantage of them?

3.  Analyze and Prioritize
Sift through the feedback and prioritize what matters most. Select a few clear strategic priorities that will have the greatest impact on your business in both the short- and long-term.

4.  Develop a Short List and Strategic Theme
If you’re serious about implementing a strategy throughout the entire organization, you need a focus. Too scattered an approach will leave employees frustrated and confused.  Select three moves that would make the greatest difference and craft a one-sentence theme that is clear enough and simple enough for everyone to understand and commit to.

Perhaps you want to expand into the global market, or grab market share from your most effective competitor, or become the best place to work for “A” players in your industry.  The strategic theme needs to fit your specific business.

5.  Get to Work
This may be the most vulnerable stage of the strategic planning process — strategy implementation. Execution is where so many strategies struggle and fail. Be forewarned. It takes hard work and discipline, steady motivation, judicious tweaks, and strong leadership to achieve the strategic goals.

You need to set clear roles, hold employees accountable, provide needed resources, and recognize and reward successes along the way.

The Bottom Line
To develop the right strategy, you need to plan well, actively involve key stakeholders and focus on implementing the critical few moves that matter most.

To learn more about improving your chances for strategic success, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

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