A few weeks ago, I attended the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP) annual conference in Tysons Corner, VA. As this was my first entrée into the organization, I was excited to increase my strategy knowledge and skills, and take advantage of the various presentations. From the keynote speakers to the individual breakout sessions one thing was clear: without a defined strategy roadmap, one’s strategy is destined for a less then optimal outcome.
So how do you know if your strategy is on the path to success? Below are three paths to drive your business toward executing a highly impactful strategy.
Whether it’s a start-up organization or a Fortune 500 company, lack of stakeholder alignment can derail a company’s strategy from day one. Lack of focus, an ill-defined target market, and unobtainable goals are examples of the outcomes of a failed strategy. Mediocre sales performance due to poor differentiation and poor positioning will have detrimental bottom-line consequences. Having a clearly defined marketing strategy can lead to better sales traction that will generate repeat business and referrals.
Capitalizing on Trends and Market Disruptions
Markets are constantly evolving, whether it’s a new entrant or disruptive innovation. Capitalizing on new opportunities and taking strategic risks are essential to success. First mover advantage is paramount, but only if you have the right strategy in place. It is vitally important to quickly evaluate the success of an organizational strategic plan in order to provide actionable course-corrections.
Encouraging Personal Responsibility and Execution
Hashing out the ideal strategy is probably the most challenging and time consuming component of the strategic plan: defining what the company as a whole is trying to achieve and become. Organizations which implement strategy successfully learn to develop detailed action plans. To play effectively in this market, the leadership must determine who are the internal stakeholders that need to be invested in the plan for it to be successful, what resources will be required in order to achieve the desired results, and finally, how will this strategy be communicated effectively to the entire organization. Committing the strategy to paper, assigning responsibility and setting realistic timelines will enable employees to understand management’s direction and how their actions or inactions impact the organizations ability to reach those goals. The first step in realizing an organizations potential is to put pencil to paper and begin the process of hashing out a strategic plan.