Where is your business now?
This is a critical ‘analysis aspect’ of the strategic process, where the goal is to reach consensus, narrowing the numerous issues raised (both by the audit and this ‘current reality’ phase) down to a few broad categories of critical focus. It aims to pinpoint competitive advantages, analyse prospects for sales and profitability, and prepare the business for strategic challenges.
Using a range of tools including SWOT analysis, competition ranking, customer profiling, etc., StrategyPal lets you guide your clients to a clear understanding of the current reality. They’ll see exactly how they operate, what they do best, where they lag behind the competition, where they can innovate and how effective they are at sales, marketing, management and leadership.
Working directly with managers with diverse responsibilities within the organisation, the mentor is not merely focused on sales or finance, taking instead an in-depth view of how the organisation works as a whole. This ensures that the evolving strategic improvement themes are most appropriate for the overall health of the company.
The strategic themes crystallized in this section will lead to integrated, manageable objectives, all with a joint focus. This is the beginning of making strategic planning an integral part of day-to-day management.
Understanding as much about your business as possible
- How it operates internally?
- What are your core capabilities?
- Have you conducted an in-depth SWOT analysis?
- What drives its profitability?
- How does it compare against competitors?
- What capacity do you have?
- What can you do?
- Do exceptionally well?
- What problems are you addressing?
- How effective are you at selling?
- Have you surveyed customers for their feedback?
- Where can you innovate?
- How effective is leadership?
- Be realistic and critical
Where do you want to take it?
This brings us to the ‘Clarity’ section of Strategypal, where the mentor guides the company to a clear understanding of its mission, vision, values and position in the marketplace (USP, branding, competition, etc.).
This is where strategic themes are delineated , and the critical issues that need attention are prioritised. For each agreed strategic theme objective, specific targets are set and the means of measuring performance outlined. This is then tracked and monitored by week, month, quarter or year. These key objectives are further categorised into four broad perspectives, drawing on the principles and experiences of the Balanced Scorecard :
- Internal Processes
- Learning and Growth
The Clarity section of StrategyPal provides a clear roadmap for your client’s journey into a successful future.
Simply put, if your client wants success they will need an achievable coherent strategy:
- Ultimately they need to measure this in terms of Financial outcomes
- If they want strong financial results they must have great Customer relationships and service
- If they want great customer service, they must have excellent Internal Processes in place
- If they want great internal processes, they need Learning and Growth which will deliver competent motivated people (human capital), excellent systems (information and technology capital), and a climate for action (organisational capital) which are required to execute the strategy and support the internal processes which will deliver delighted customers and therefore generate the financial outcomes which will achieve the strategy … this is the ‘game-changer’ for success.
Here you need to clarify your key objectives.
- Establish your mission, values and vision
- Which critical issues must you respond to?
- Where should you allocate your resources?
- Where do you see your business in two, three, five or ten years?
- What should your priorities be?
- What do you want to be the focus of your business and your source of competitive advantage over your rivals in the marketplace?
This is where strategic themes are delineated, and the critical issues that need attention are prioritised. For each agreed strategic theme, specific objectives and targets are set and the means of measuring performance outlined. These are then tracked and continuously monitored. These key objectives are further categorised across:
- Internal Processes &
- Learning and Growth perspectives
Like the pillars of the Parthenon in Greece, themes hold up the structure of a plan. They are the very pillars that define the shape and distinctive thrusts of new growth and new direction.
From this basis, detailed plans, measures of achievement and detailed strategy implementation actions, underpinned by agreed time lines are developed.
Themes provide a mainstay for strategic planning. Whilst recognising that ‘the devil is in the detail’, themes actually facilitate final agreement at the detail level.
What do you need to do to get there?
‘Breakthroughs’ is a highly motivating section of StrategyPal, allowing the mentor to focus clients on major breakthroughs or milestones – the significant signposts to success.
Guided by the mentor, the client will choose the top 12 (monthly) or 4 (quarterly) strategic actions, identifying obstacles and challenges and focusing on solutions to assure progress. These are then reviewed habitually to track progress, providing a powerful focus and keeping everyone on track for success.
- What goals and deadlines will you need to set for yourself and others in the business?
- What changes will you need to make – at the level of people capabilities and competencies, systems and ICT infrastructure, organisational culture, leadership, alignment and teamwork to deliver on your strategic objectives?
- What is the best way of implementing those changes?
- What changes to the structure and financing of your business will be required?