Developing strategies is not difficult
Executing them is.
Terms such as ‘strategy’ are often chanted for no reason. They are always used in combination with other, complicated terms and quite a bit of heavy sighing. Yet, we do not find developing strategies for businesses difficult at all.
It is usually only when the outlined strategy is put into practice that it goes wrong. That is also when some pertinent questions arise. We have compiled those questions here and have given a simple answer to them.
Below, you will find the top 10 of the most frequently asked questions on strategies.
And our straightforward answers.
Are strategies not purely theoretical?
Is having a strategy required? Do we not especially need a lot of luck?
Luck is something you create for yourself, as is a successful strategy. Research shows that businesses that followed a strategic thought process, formulated a strategy and then implemented it, were often 40% more effective than businesses that do not have one.
Especially that last step – the implementation – is missing in many businesses. Top managers can very easily spend a few days in an inspirational setting and then name some strategic or policy objectives. The real challenge is bringing those objectives to life with your employees, executing them, evaluating them and adjusting them.
Maintaining focus seems to be the biggest challenge for many businesses. A well defined and elaborate strategy will help you with that. As Seth Godin (author and renowned dot-com entrepreneur) once said, “If you do not have the time to do it right, what makes you think you’ll have the time to do it over?”
Strategy is an abstract concept. How do I put it into practice?
We bring your possibilities into focus by representing them visually with our innovative Strategy Road Map. You receive a complete overview of the hidden opportunities in your business model. Furthermore, we provide a clear and tangible step-by-step plan tailored to your business. We closely monitor each step, regularly evaluate your work and adjust where necessary. Finally, we teach you how to think strategically and how to implement your new strategy.
When do I involve employees in my business strategy?
Your employees are the basis for the implementation of a successful strategy. If they do not know what you are aiming at, why you want it and how you want to achieve it, they cannot contribute properly. In addition, a well-balanced communication plan is crucial to achieving good results.
That is why you should involve your employees from the start and enthuse them throughout the process.
What if employees oppose a new strategy?
Change always provokes resistance but does not always have to be an issue. If employees are involved early on and if your expectations are clear, you will stimulate their involvement.
In addition, evaluating your leadership style is not unimportant in such a process. Depending on the objectives to be achieved and the change needed to achieve them, you apply the type of leadership that makes that change possible.
Sometimes, it is also necessary to set aside your own paradigms. Furthermore, be surprised by the positive contribution that your employees can make from their place in the organization. They can often do more than you think.
Hope is not a strategy.
What can I expect from my employees in leadership positions?
We expect a leader to be able to deliver what is needed to achieve the intended results. It often happens that leadership teams are not used to thinking strategically. Most of the time, they are hugely involved in the operational side of things, which prevents them from sufficiently showing the right leadership style.
It is important to evaluate in advance the quality of your leaders and what qualities they should have to allow them to grow in their future roles. After all, they are the ones who translate the strategy to their departments and ensure that it is implemented and carried out.
If I do not do it myself, nothing happens. Why is that?
A strategy and its implementation are often insufficiently aligned. Often, organizations grow organically, and the owners are strongly involved from the start. However, it depends on a number of factors how a business leader/owner handles this and what personality they prefer.
Thinking and acting strategically helps a business leader to look at their organization from a distance, making clear what steps need to be taken to prepare the system for the next step.
If we do not distance ourselves from our work, we cannot see what is happening around us. As a result, organizations are sometimes taken by surprise by their competition or a rapidly changing market. By that time, they are no longer able to make timely adjustments.
How do I keep my strategy alive?
Ensure that there is structure, passion and conviction, both at board level and in your leadership teams. In addition, the culture of your organization is very decisive for the success of a strategy.
You are likely familiar with Peter Drucker’s following quote: “Organizational culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” A balanced strategic plan contains a clear view of the desired culture and organizational behavior required to be successful.
Our vision: “Culture outperforms strategy every time and culture with strategy is unbeatable.”
How do I convince my board of directors?
A board of directors or an advisory board plays an important role in carrying out a successful strategy. They can challenge your strategic plan and help you to optimize it. Furthermore, they are pre-eminently the body to monitor the implementation of your strategy and to keep it on track. These boards can also act as your sounding board, provided they are well-composed. Involve them sufficiently and keep them thoroughly informed during the implementation.
Straight Business Partners supports entrepreneurs in composing balanced boards. We also provide support so that your board of directors/advisory board functions properly.
Strategy; how do I start?
First, having a clear picture of your entrepreneurial dreams and what you want to create is essential. The next step is to realize the importance of a strategy. You must be willing to go through the entire process – so not only the days of brainstorming but also and especially the implementation of the process.
More specifically, this involves preparing your organization to think strategically, bringing the strategy to life and implementing it successfully.
Grasping, implementing and completing it should therefore be the motto. You can only do this with a strong partner or a strong team.