How to Fundamentally Transform Your Business Part 4: Strategic Objectives and Strategy
This is our final post in our series on How to Fundamentally Transform Your Business. So far we’ve covered vision, values and purpose as three aspects you can’t ignore if you want to transform your business. This post concludes our series by looking at the two sides of strategy, starting with:
Objectives are both milestones and cornerstones. They should become clear once you’ve created a vision. To help with the process, imagine yourself in a business that has truly achieved your vision. Work backwards from there to the present day. On that journey through time, what are the core components that enabled this?
To keep it simple remember these are just things that you need to turn your vision from a hallucination into a reality.
When a vision starts to crystallise into something tangible, more people will buy it. And aligning everyone’s personal objectives to your strategic objectives makes this work even better. This is one of the key parts of good people management.
Finish with a couple of simple questions:
Are these strategic objectives the keys to unlocking our vision?
Is everyone in the organisation working towards fulfilling these objectives?
Great, move on.
… To the final tip:
A beautifully cynical former CEO of a billion dollar revenue PLC once said to me, “Don’t kill yourself creating a complex strategy. The details of the most successful strategies you read about are filled in after the event...”
Your strategy is your plan of how you’re going to get from A to B, how you’re going to complete the strategic objectives and how you’ll make the vision a reality. It can traverse multiple logical levels, so start high and work down into a bit of detail, but not too much.
While a vision is by necessity a snapshot of the future, a strategy needs to be simple and really, really clear. From a leadership perspective, it’s critical to create a simple strategy that people can bring to life. The more detailed you make it, the less ownership people will feel.
Instead, start your strategy with a catchy statement, something that will prompt a feeling of ‘I get it’.
You will however need some level of detail. Start with explaining why the strategic objectives are so important. Then follow up by looking at your market place. What changes are happening? How do they play into your ambitions? What things are you going to connect, and in what sequence, to make an outcome that will work for the organisation? There are many ways to skin a cat, and there will be many strategies that will be successful for your organisation, so pick something that feels right and that is the most likely to get buy-in.
Because it’s awesome, I’d suggest reading about Blue Ocean Strategy. The premise is that if you have competitors, like most businesses, then you are all frothing around in a red ocean, attempting to differentiate with clever new ways of describing your products and services but not really much else. This approach uses new thinking to create differentiation and, ideally, reduces costs of delivery to push into a blue ocean of uncontested market space. I mainly love the metaphor but the whole premise is awesome.
Just remember that once you have a good strategy you need to ask:
Will we be unique (enough)?
Will we be compelling (enough)?
Is our plan clear and can everyone in the organisation align behind it?
To create a truly great organisation you’re going to need to work hard with more tenacity than you’ve ever mustered. But at least do the hard stuff in the right order. If you do it this way, then you significantly reduce the hard work later on. Why? Because so many of the questions that come up during discussions or projects or other activities are already answered for you. It means you don’t need to stop and think every five minutes, charging up and down logical levels to answer big questions. It means less projects will fail because they are aligned.
With this hard work behind you, and once you fully understand your customers and prospects, then you’ve laid the rails for success.
Digital agencies are in a unique position to combine business strategy, creativity, marketing and technology under one roof. The reason we continue to focus on digital is that it gives us a massive advantage. We have a unique and unprecedented perspective of customers: more and more of the touch points and interfaces with customers are digital. Not only do we have all the data, but because of our understanding of humans, it means we can create insight, leading to true business transformation.
As an agency, we’ve moved into our blue ocean, one where just knowing nuts and bolts of digital, asking a few clever commercial questions, and creating beautiful artwork isn’t enough to escape the red ocean. Now we’re driving success for our clients through cutting-edge business consultancy and allowing customers to gain a true insight into their consumers through our award-winning neuromarketing offer.
If your agency isn’t helping to create your Blue Ocean Strategy, then give us a call and we’ll fast-track you to the next level of thinking.
- In this series of blog posts, I’m going to give you some awesome insight into what some of the biggest organisations still fail to do effectively, and give you the five top tips to fundamentally transform your organisation.