Think Externally to Create a More Aggressive Business Strategy

Think Externally to Create a More Aggressive Business Strategy
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When Business Is Good
Many leaders are tempted to take growth for granted when business is good.  But there is a lot of evidence that success can cause unwanted leadership complacency and strategic vulnerability.  If you are comfortable with the current performance of your business, chances are that you need a more aggressive business strategy to avoid drifting into some dangerous waters.

Don’t Let Your Guard Down
Business leaders need to be vigilant.  They need to challenge and update their strategy so they can flex to challenges that threaten their organization’s good health.  Whether the source comes from unanticipated technological innovation, changes in economic conditions, or political instability, it is the CEO’s job to keep abreast of possible threats and create a strategy to deal with them.

Think Externally to Create a More Aggressive Business Strategy
Instead of mainly looking inward toward the processes and systems required to support your growth, make sure that your primary strategic focus is external – on your customers, your competition and your marketplace.  Continuously challenge your strategic assumptions and ensure that you will do what it takes to:

  • Meet customer needs
  • Focus on high growth
  • Innovate your product and service offerings
  • Gather external sources of information
  • Track and monitor strategic progress

This is the way to create an aggressive business strategy.

Your Marketplace
The market may be in your favor now, but what disruption might lurk just around the corner?  Look at trends.  Don’t discount any until you have asked “why not.”  If only Kodak had questioned their business model by asking, “Why not a switch to digital cameras?” or if the taxi industry had anticipated or reacted to Uber earlier.

Your Customers
Your best source for information on your current business strategy may not be your good customers; it more likely will be those dissatisfied customers.  They are the ones who have found your product, or your customer service, or your pricing model lacking.  Find out what sent them away and make any necessary tweaks before there’s a rush of your customers elsewhere.

Your Thinking
Pull together a cross-functional team to really put your business model to the test.  Consider possible scenarios to think through what might happen if various high-impact situations should occur.  Some companies have found success setting up strategic scenarios whereby one team defends the current strategy while another attacks it.  This can be a great way to highlight the organization’s vulnerabilities.

The Bottom Line
Beware of leadership and strategic complacency.  It can make your organization vulnerable to unexpected threats from technology, the economy, and your competition.  Keep your strategy agile enough to address unexpected challenges.

To learn more about creating a more aggressive business strategy, download Do You Have the Right Culture to Drive Your Growth Strategy Forward?

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