Failing to plan is like planning to fail. Strategy goes in a similar direction. After all, If we can tell a taxi where we want to go, why can’t we do the same with our lives? Clarity of thoughts is one thing, penning it is another. Putting it down on paper crystalizes it and its there for everyone to see. To revisit. To focus on. As a reminder. Ensuring one does not get sidetracked by life and its constant diversions.
Strategic direction provides a framework for everyone to follow. Everyone works towards a shared goal. Tactics may change to suit the environment, but the overall strategy remains intact.
So, where does strategy come from? How does one even begin to arrive at a strategy that they feel is thought through, relevant and reaching?
Multiple approaches to this exist, but let’s take one as a sample approach touching on aspects that contribute to arriving at a thought through, well researched and well deliberated strategy:
- Mission/Vision/Values (Why we exist? / What we want to be? / What’s important to us?)
- SWOT analysis (the market, competitors, their own state etc.)
- Give weightage to SWOT elements (assessing critical importance of each)
- Strategic direction assessment: (Which route are we looking at taking, with regard to SWOT) (Strength to opportunity / Weakness to opportunity / Weakness to strength / Strength to threat)
- PESTLE analysis
- Decisions on the following provides further direction:
- Develop new markets for existing products
- Develop new products for your existing markets
- Develop new products in new markets
- Gain market share with your existing products in your current markets
- Selecting traditional marketing levers Or Digital Marketing levers OR a mix
- Distribution channel selection: (Kiosks / Bricks & Mortar / Digital / Online apps / Delivery etc. or a mix of these)
- Price positioning: (Market conditions / competition / Internal costs etc.)
- Brand message alignment
- Social narrative: (Social impact / CSR / SDG / ESG etc.)
The above don’t have to be used in a linear / sequential fashion or in conjunction with each other. They can be chosen as individual aspects also.
Two aspects that have a substantial impact on Strategy success are:
As Peter Drucker rightly said “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast”. If the people executing strategy are not aligned and effective and the culture of the organization does not support performance and effective implementation, it won’t work. Getting organizational culture aligned to ensure strategic success is a key component that needs attention.
Creating and developing a strategy is critical. But, equally, if not more important, is its execution. This is where the rubber meets the road. Traction is key.
An idea is only as good as its execution. Bringing all the elements on board is key. Ensuring they remain working towards the same objectives and align with organizational objectives is critical and can have a significant impact on its success.
Execution has challenges in its communication. From the top tier to the front lines there are far too many layers and the message can get lost in translation. Ensuring the integrity of the message remains intact throughout its journey becomes a priority & must be focused on.
In the end, we must keep in mind that this is a dynamic process and strategy must remain flexible if market conditions demand.
Things can change, so can strategy. It is ever evolving and must remain in sync with the world around it.
Opinion Piece: Uzair Hassan, CEO, 3H Solutions Group email@example.com