Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Articulate the strategy for long term success

It would seem that it is common knowledge that in order to achieve a goal, everyone involved should be aware of the exact goal. Especially if we want everyone to contribute. However, interestingly enough, most executives are unable to quickly state what their strategy is. Which means they don’t understand the core basic of the strategy, at least not enough to say it in a simple statement. So how do they expect anyone else in the company to understand. (“Strategy and Competition: Can you say what your strategy is?”) Therefore, it comes to no surprise that success is harder to reach in these companies, as there is no clear common goal to work towards. An executive cannot micromanage everyone in the company to do what she or he wants to achieve for the company. Therefore, it is critical for them to clearly articulate the company strategy so that everyone in the company is equally on board. When the strategy is simple and remembered, it is easy for the employees to work with the strategy with every daily action. As mentioned in the Strategy and competition article, having a clear strategy statement allows easier formulation and implementation. 

In the Harvard Business Review Article “When CEOs talk strategy, is anyone listening?”, only 29% of employees could correctly identify their company strategy from six choices.1 Imagine what the rate would be if they had to state the strategy (I would expect it to be much lower)! Although the article did disclaim, just because the employees doesn’t know the strategy doesn’t mean the company was unsuccessful. Nonetheless, having clear internalized strategy across the company makes success so much easier. 

For instance, my company has a very simple and clear strategy/goal: contemporaneous timekeeping. Everything we do is to create the simplest app to allow for contemporaneous timekeepers. Although we don’t have the clear, stated 3-part strategy, our goal is still clear. The objective is to mold or create contemporaneous timekeepers. In terms of the scope, the company is targeting professionals, such as attorneys and accountants, anywhere who tracks time for different clients. The advantage is we have the simplest and most innovative app in the market. With an app that an user can learn in under two minutes by themselves, whereas, most other application may require a training session. Because the strategy is clear and simple to remember, it guides my day to day work. For instance, every time there is a new feature, I would think does this feature provide the easiest usability and understandability to the user. If not, how can it be simplified and be more efficient. Because the simplicity, accuracy, and being user friendly is so central, thinking from the perspective of an user almost becomes second nature. This strategy is also understood by others in the company. As a result, the company has been the industry leader for consecutive years along with many industry awards. The company is the epitomy of success, mainly because the strategy is so clearly communicated by the executives. 

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