Why a Great Strategy Isn’t Enough

As the leader of a private company with 20 to 100 employees, you are in an elite class. To be precise, your company is in the top 2% of all companies (600,000 out of 27.3m). The business has done well. But what is the next stage for you? To get bigger? To reduce stress levels? Make more money? Perhaps to understand your customers better? Create a happier workplace? Defining the next big set of audacious goals might fill you with trepidation! I suspect your anxiety is based on the following symptoms you are experiencing:

Symptoms
  1. Big goals that you set for yourself and the team, at the beginning of the year, are not being achieved.
  2. Stress levels around the company are high.
  3. There is a wide range of achievement across the sales team.
  4. Unique visitors to the web site are static.
  5. Mistakes are creeping in across departments but accountability is weak.
  6. Few deep relationships with customers.
Solutions

These symptoms in my experience can occur at any point in the lifecycle of a company. Just as an executive can be burned out at 35, 45 or 55! In building private businesses over the last 30 years, I’ve identified 5 special moves that underpin success, and they might just unlock the next stage of achievement you desire. My top five moves:

  1. You need to be crystal clear on a practical strategic direction for your business. What business am I in? Is this where I want to be? Spend an inordinate amount of time nailing this. Ironically it’s key to execution. (See Positioning Post)
  2. Shape the structure of the organization around this strategic direction. Document the roles of every employee. Even if somebody does three roles, create three separate boxes to visualize the need for change. Don’t hide the issues. Face up to them. It will help you prioritize new hires. (See Recruitment Post)
  3. Shape the agenda of each department around this strategic direction. (See Alignment Post)
  4. Define what needs to be measured to confirm you are successfully executing your strategic direction. (See Metrics Post)
  5. Implement a sales process that is built around understanding customers. I mean a deep, insightful understanding of how to improve the lives of your customers. This improvement story should tie effortlessly into the strategic direction. (See Prime Post)
Finally on a pure practical point. We are all human. To achieve this operational focus, the CEO should take an honest look at the demands on their time. In my opinion these solutions require the creation of the COO type role. This role’s main function is to translate the strategic direction into easily understood operational actions and make them happen.

1 Comment

  1. Ian – Great insight. I would also add that strategy without proper execution remains just on paper. You need solid execution to go along with great strategy.

    Reply

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