Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The formula for - Can You Say What Your Strategy Is?

How you define your business strategy will determine the direction of your business and will shape the future of your company. So by defining your overarching strategy clearly and succinctly – you can develop your growth and plan of activities and accomplish your goals. It is important that company define its goals and objectives very clearly – both at the corporate level and at a business unit level. ‘Become the m-commerce market leader in the US in the next three years’ – This was the goal of Apple at a corporate level when they came up with the release of Apple Pay. And, ‘Become the mobile payments’ market leader in the US in the next three years’ – they clearly had their goals and objectives set both at the corporate level and at a product level (in this case). Their objectives included a few metrics that helped (and is helping) Apple to set their guiding lines and achieve their goals. So it is important to understand the ‘formula’ that goes into formulating a strategy statement. You essentially have to answer three fundamental questions – Who? Where? And When? Almost all successful companies have the propensity to adopt and include these three elements in formulating a strategy statement. But, how does a company develop a strategy that separates it from the rest of its competitors in the market space? To develop such a strategy, the company needs to define its position in the market. In my opinion, again, a ‘formula’ that a company could adopt to place them in an advantageous position – first, delineate succinctly what their differentiators are – second, For: (targeted market segment) – third, Who have (motivating problem #1, and/or motivating problem #2) – Fourth, That provides (benefit #1 and benefit #2) – Fifth, That Uniquely offers (positioning differentiator #1, #2…) – sixth, So that you can (create business value #1, business value #2). And finally, provide validating points for the positioning statement. So the important aspect to note here is that you should leave no room for misinterpretation, i.e. develop a detailed understanding of every element of the firm’s strategy.

Once a strategy is formulated and developed, the next important and perhaps the most important step is to implement and execute the strategy. There are mainly three reasons why strategy implementation falls short – first, failure to translate the strategy, second, failure to adapt the strategy and third, failure to sustain the strategy. A lot of times the dissemination and the translation of strategic ideas are done poorly resulting in disconnect between the proposed goal and the course of implementation. Companies need to be wary of the continuously changing fast paced environment and quickly adapt to the changes by devising a strategy. Therefore, the company’s leadership must put in a considerable amount of energy to select a dynamic approach that can help overcome a failure to translate the strategy efficiently.

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