Flowers, chocolates, perhaps a card? Romance is so often lovingly commercialised, but at Lucidity we’ve been wondering about the bigger question - how do you go about loving your strategy?
In this article we follow our previous look at how to spot a bad strategy by pondering how you spot a good one...
Good Strategy - The Perfect Partner
Strategy itself is the perfect partner. It supports you. It helps you grow. It guides you. It even reassures you. Yet, let’s be honest, it’s not the most loved word is it? We’re happy to admit that because we do love strategy, as do our clients, but often it's not seen as a good topic.
It can be deemed to be nebulous, difficult, confusing… not really traits you’d want in a partner.
Thankfully it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are some key traits to look out for in good strategic plans. Stretching the love analogy more than we should, think of them as attributes you may see on the dating profile of your strategy. If you can tick these all off then you’re on to a winner…
A good strategy has a clear Vision associated to it.
The Vision statement is your guide, your few sentences that bind all of your actions together and express an outcome. It’s positive, it’s emotive, it’s inspiring.
You can check out our guide to writing a good Vision Statement for more information, or our introduction article to Vision Statements.
Strategic Objectives are the large, major objectives you want to achieve to make your Vision a reality. You shouldn’t really have more than 6, nor less than 3.
They should be bold, clear, and have an alignment to your strategic Vision. Without these objectives, you're unlikely to be very effective as you don't know what you're trying to achieve. In general you’ll touch on a range of areas such as financial, people, or customer.
Any good relationship needs clear communication, and yet so many strategic plans fail at this point. There are some scary facts in this area:
- One third of leaders couldn’t name one of their company’s strategic objectives
- Only 13% of front line staff could do the same
The lack of understanding of strategy is a clear problem and it’s one that careful, planned, routine communication can resolve. Your employees and people are one of the stakeholders in your strategy, so make sure they are engaged.
A team that knows their purpose and the objectives will perform much better than one without the shared sense of direction.
Another quality of a good strategy is regular improvement. There’s no doubt there will be aspects of your strategic plan that are not right. Every plan needs to adapt, every business needs to evolve to external forces impacting the company.
Best practice is to run your management meetings or board meetings with your strategic plan, really allowing it to drive your company forward. Don’t be afraid of changing it – this is the best way to get a good result.
A strategy is a living, evolving piece of work, not a stuffy single word document buried within the depths of a file system.
Focus & Consistency:
All aspects of your strategy should be consistent and collectively understood. If you have multiple word documents, spreadsheets, Powerpoints or pdfs, you risk losing that consistency.
Formulating and planning a strategy is only the first step - execution is crucial. Focus on maintaining the single strategic plan, feeding your goal updates and milestones into the system, and don't lose track of what you are doing.
Gather feedback from all areas as you formulate and implement your strategy. Make sure you engage and ask your employees and team members. Bringing their views and expertise into your thinking will only make you stronger and more prepared to make a success of your strategic plans.
A good strategy can make such a difference to your results. It might be revenue growth, it might be accreditations like Investors in People, or it might be operational excellence.
Whatever your overall objectives, a good strategy will guide and support you. No wonder it's something to be loved...
Happy Valentine's Day from everyone at Lucidity ❤️
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