UNDERSTANDING STRATEGY AS A TOOL FOR LONG-TERM BUSINESS SURVIVAL AND SUCCESS?
For those that follow football, the term packing the bus is one used to describe a team that has chosen to defend against its more aggressive opponents with all eleven players. The idea is to make it impossible for the opponents to score by having as many bodies in a defensive role. For the soldiers on the other hand- when going to war the decision to deploy ground forces first or lead with jets bombing the opposition stronghold is a tactic designed to predict the outcome of the said war. Finally, for the shop near the university hostels, the decision to sell affordable second-hand clothes as opposed to expensive designer outfits is one arrived at after an evaluation of several factors that determine long-term goals and outcomes. These decisions or sets of choices and accompanying actions arrived at by the coach, the general and the shopkeeper can cumulatively be described as a strategy.
In very basic terms, strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim and it is applicable in business, war, sports, and even politics.
Thus as a business- whether big or small you must wrap your plans around a strategy- as it marks your journey from where you are, to where you want to be in the next 3-5 years or even longer. From its starting point to the end, the strategy allows you to: –
- Focus your efforts on achieving your long-term objectives
- Helps you to define your brand in line with your long-term objectives
- Informs the tactics, skills, resources needed to actualize your long-term objectives
The above bullets help you answer the question- what is the long-term direction of your company, this can be easily answered in 3 simple parts
- Your strategic position- What businesses are you in (construction, catering, technology, etc.), what is the purpose of your business, and what kind of culture is needed among other questions?
- Strategic choice, direction, and method- This helps to answer what is your unfair advantage also known as your differentiator, and different companies achieve this through their brands- Mercedes by offering luxury, Apple is innovation, Toyota is affordability and Safaricom has Mpesa. All of these unfair advantage positions are achievable through a combination of deliverables that work to make each of the above companies the best or most reliable in their niche or category.
- Strategy in action. This represents strategy in action and while the first two are normally clear for over 80% of the companies, only 14% of these companies can correctly implement their strategies as this latter stage demands for the business or individual to be able to evaluate themselves, be adept at strategy development, have great organizational and leadership skills and be flexible enough to affect and effect change.
It is thus clear that breaking it down, strategy is not a complex thing, rather it is all about the choices you make and actions you take toward your long-term objectives and aspirations.
To overcome the implementation challenge- your business must synchronize 4 key elements
These define authority and reporting lines and allow for things to happen seamlessly even in your absence. It also informs the skillsets needed and the positions to be filled.
This helps to translate your strategy into everyday actions- what needs to be done, by whom, etc. It helps you group jobs to be done and priorities around them as a logical function that ensures everything functions in synchrony.
These first two ensure processes, policies, and procedures are in place to ensure tasks are done and completed per your defined vision. Hence you will have the policies, processes, and procedures summarized as our way for example the Mercedes Way of building cars is anchored in precision, efficiency, luxury, and class that their customers are looking for.
In as much as they also build cars, the Toyota Way will be different to meet the demands and expectations of their customers.
These are the drivers of your vision and so it is important you have the right mix of people with the right leadership and motivation to help you deliver long-term. In this care, it is important for the leadership to have a clear view of the long-term goals and how to get there so that they may groom and shepherd the workforce there most effectively and efficiently.
- Strategy implementation
This informs the allocation of resources to support the above in achieving our immediate, mid, and long-term goals.
Should you wish to learn more about strategy formulation and implementation, Contact Springboard Capital at 0700 944 444/WhatsApp Us through the button below or email us at email@example.com. Our team members are at hand to guide you on strategy development and implementation plus a host of other business tools that your business may need.
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Article based on Kennon Mbae’s BizSmart Webinar Presentation–Mr Kennon is a seasoned Finance professional and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and he is a Fellow Member of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA).
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