H. Todd once said, “if you have no destination, any road will get you there”. How can you pick a road to somewhere when you don’t know where you are going? How do you get “there” when you don’t know or don’t care where “there” is? Or more specifically, having a direction. Where are you going? Until you can answer that question, you can’t say that any one route is better than another. Any road will get you to where you want to go.
Not having a direction, not having a goal, not knowing where you are going, it’s all the same. You go nowhere. You can never get “there,” can never arrive anywhere because you don’t really have a destination.
Consider if you were planning a family vacation because they are fun and exciting and something you always wanted to do. Now think about how hard it would be to plan a trip without agreeing on a destination. You wouldn’t know what to pack, what the conditions were at the destination, how much the trip would cost, the most efficient route and method of transportation and so on. It is much the same in a business, the destination is the organization’s goal/objective and the route you take to get there is the strategy.
Let’s look at why having a strategy is important to your business success –
- Organizations and leaders are constantly facing challenges and balancing goals against resources. In some cases, these challenges are rapid with immediate demands while in other cases they are slower to develop but have a larger strategic impact. Leaders require the capacity and knowledge to transition back and forth between these varied demands. With a clear strategy, leaders can meet the expectations and make decisions that align with the company’s overarching mission and goals. Strategy is important to long-term success because instead of undermining short-term objectives, it leverages them to support the long-term vision of the organization.
- Strategy is successful only when there is consistent and clear communication across all levels of an organization. People must understand the strategic goals and how they fit and why they matter. Leaders must set a vision, communicate that vision, and engage teammates to help them understand their role in shaping future success. A clearly defined strategy provides for alignment and action.
- Data is central to making smart business decisions and should be part of any business strategy. Organizations can collect, analyze, and utilize data, usually in the form of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to determine if business strategies are aligned with departmental and corporate strategies. Combining and managing multiple sources of data, that reference strategic objectives, can make decision making more effect and can improve resource allocation towards various functions and initiatives.
- Along with being clearly defined, data driven, and communicated a strategy needs to be flexible or agile. This agility is the organization’s capacity to respond quickly when an internal or external opportunities arises in order to re-prioritize initiatives and make course corrections. Additionally, an in-place strategy helps leadership respond to external forces, such as market disruptions, competition behavior and shifts, economic impacts, etc.
Strategy is the roadmap that gets you to your destination and helps you reach your goals. Different businesses have different strategies, and they are not all built the same. Plans differ widely in their length and the detail of their contents and place different emphasis on different aspects of the business. If you are looking to create and implement a business strategy, we can help guide you through all the stages and create a plan to help you meet your business objectives.