Steps to Create a Coherent Business Strategy

Steps to Create a Coherent Business Strategy
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A Coherent Business Strategy Matters
Our organizational alignment research found that a coherent business strategy accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.  There’s no doubt that a sound strategic plan that everyone can commit to is critical to success. But sadly, up to 90% of strategic initiatives conceived at a strategy retreat are never fully enacted.

People waver, pressures shift, and those affected by change naturally resist.  What good is a carefully designed strategic plan if it does not get the desired results?

Bringing a Coherent Business Strategy to Life
Any coherent business strategy must go through your people and your culture to get fully implemented.  Savvy leaders ensure that everyone is ready to fully accept and act upon key strategic priorities in a way that makes sense to the people AND the business.  That means meeting people where they are and navigating their willingness and motivation to change, think, behave, and act in a way that moves the agreed-upon plan forward – especially when times are tough.

To succeed, your business strategy will need enough commitment from the C-Suite to the front line to overcome the inevitable barriers to success.  It will only go as far and as fast as you earn support from senior leaders, key influencers, managers, and front line employees.

Coherent Business Strategy Creation and Implementation, Step by Step

  1. Know Where You Are
    Change management consulting experts know that the first step in any change initiative is to thoroughly understand your current state. You need to know where you are to create a meaningful plan to get you where you want to go.  Honestly assess where you are in terms of your strategy, culture, talent, marketplace, business model, and readiness to change.
  2. Define Where You Want to Go
    Having truthfully assessed and accurately described where you are today, you can focus on creating the strategic clarity required to achieve your compelling vision of the future. This is the step where you should actively involve key stakeholders in strategic planning to answer strategic driver questions like:

    Company Mission:  What is the fundamental purpose of the organization?
    Strategic Vision:  What do you hope the organization becomes in the foreseeable future?
    Corporate Values:  What are the organizations fundamental beliefs and decision making filters?
    Ideal Target Clients: Who is your ideal client where you should win the majority of the time?
    Unique Value Proposition: What clearly sets you apart in the eyes of your target clients?
    – High Performance: What defines undisputed high performance?
    – Big Bets: What critical few strategic priorities, goals, and immediate actions do you commit to as a team?

    If actively co-created with key stakeholders (not dictated from above), the answers should become the unifying force that drives the strategy forward.
  3. Gain Alignment on How to Get There
    To be successfully and consistently implemented, your business strategy must go through your culture and your people.  Once the above strategic divers are agreed upon and articulated (hopefully on a one page strategy communication map), you can now design the path forward WITH your people by determining the key behaviors, mindsets, and business practices needed to align how works gets done (your workplace culture) with your strategic plan for success.  Answer questions like:

    – Have we accurately assessed our organizational culture to know where we stand currently?
    – What are the key culture shifts required to purposefully align our culture to our strategy?
    – Are our people leaders prepared to lead strategic change with their teams?
    – What are the biggest barriers to successful strategy execution?
    – Are your leaders and key influencers ready to model the desired behaviors?
    – Do your leaders have the willingness and capabilities to lead change?
  4. Stay the Course
    A final bit of advice. All this won’t happen overnight. Successful strategy implementation requires constant rigor, monitoring, and patience. Behavior change takes time but, if you mark progress and meaningfully celebrate small wins, you will keep the effort on track.

The Bottom Line
If you want your strategy to stick, you need ruthless clarity and active stakeholder involvement to create the alignment and commitment required to get you where you want to go. Don’t leave your strategy retreat unless you plan to follow through. If your vision of the future is clear and compelling, your time and effort will pay off.

To learn more about how to design a coherent business strategy, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

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