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This week’s focus: I’m working with a client on their strategy. As part of the early process I’ve met most of the top team and, during our conversation, have asked each of them to describe the company’s strategy.

The responses I’ve received are revealing. While there are some generally shared principles, no two answers have been the same. Some of the directors I’ve met have spoken about the big projects the business is taking, others have talked about their key goals, while one or two have focused on a simple vision statement. In other words, there is no consistent strategy statement.

I think this matters. A lot. A strategy doesn’t just impact the ‘big’ investment choices; it drives a myriad of decisions of actions taken by colleagues and managers from across your organisation on a daily basis. Like a magnet being waved over iron filings, a strategy creates alignment and ensures that everyone is pointing in the same direction.

If you and your leadership team are unable to give a clear statement of your strategy – with clarity on your key strategic goal, the scope of your business, how you will win and your key priorities for action – it is impossible for those decisions and actions to be aligned. As a result, you will end up with conflicting decisions and actions, as well as gaps in activity.

Can you state the strategy of your organisation in simple terms? And will your statement match those of your executive colleagues?

Off the record: Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood by Nina Simone (written by Benjamin, Caldwell and Marcus)

But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good

Oh Lord! Please don’t let me be misunderstood

© Stuart Cross 2016. All rights reserved.