Do you have a strategy for your mid-size business?
First of all, what do you understand to be a strategy?
Proper strategic planning is critical to the success of every kind of business. However, in the business world of today, there is a considerable degree of confusion about the meaning of strategy.
For instance, is a strategy …
1. An action, such as introducing a new product or service to your market?
2. An activity – like finding the right distribution channel for your product range?
3. An objective such as attaining a certain level of revenue or profit?
4. A broad description of what is happening in your business – like creating value for your shareholders?
Not at all! As Graham Kenny points out in his recent Harvard Business Review article, “Your Strategic Plans Probably Aren’t Strategic, or Even Plans”, none of the above answers correctly what a strategy is.
A strategy is not something that you desire to achieve. Neither is it something you aim to do. It is an abstract concept that implies thinking hard about how you will get to the position where you want to be in the future. It requires a total view of the organisation. Often, only the chief executive or an external business advisor or consultant can achieve this.
Strategic planning involves working out a system of adapting the overall strategy to the needs of various key stakeholders. Taking a stakeholder approach to strategic planning encourages managers to raise their thinking to the higher organisational level. This strategic thinking is vastly more productive than getting bogged down by thinking on an ‘action’ or functional level.
A final thought, in the words of Graham Kenny: “Strategic planning is a journey, not a project. Plans require on-going adjustment. Yes, kick-start yours with a two-day retreat. However, never end it there.”