Here are the first steps to building and clarifying a strategy for your business:
- Examine the purpose of the business. Why does the company exist? Ask “Why?” multiple times and when you cannot ask it anymore, you are close to your purpose. This is typically the purpose of the founder of the company. This is not an easy thing to identify. There will need to be a lot of reflection by the founder and revisit the things that helped shape their perspective. The critical junctures in their life helped influence this purpose. Once identified, it will become magnetic to the people you need to attract.
- Identify your vision – what you are trying to become. Here is an example: Dell computer’s was “To become the IBM of the 21st Century”.
- Identify your core values. Be careful to not focus on marketing catch phrases. These need to be things that will not change, and that you would be willing to suffer financial losses to hold true to them. You also must be willing to fire someone because of violation of them. They should be a couple of words each. Simple statements of a theme. You can support it with information, but the statement needs to be fast. Examples can include “Keep promises”. Then support that with “We keep promises to each other, to our vendors, and to our clients…”
- Document it.
- Preach it, teach it, post it, live it, and reinforce it. The strategy needs to be visible everywhere in the company, in the way it operates, manages, markets, etc.
- Hire people who have the desired skill set and align with the strategy.
This approach to strategy will give the company a sense of direction and deliver organizational clarity. This will allow the company to look at action and structure and measure it against the strategy, helping keep the company focused on what it is trying to accomplish.