Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Understanding your Strategy

Studying this week’s articles, I was surprised by the fact that many executives cannot express the objective, scope, and advantage of the businesses they are currently in. This speaks volumes about the inner working of these companies. Companies with such leadership will further fail to motivate the other employees to work at their best abilities and capabilities. How companies define their business strategy will determine the direction of their business and will shape their future. It is also important that companies define their goals and objectives very clearly, both at the corporate and business unit levels. Thus, by defining their strategy comprehensibly and succinctly, they can ensure that everyone in the company is homogeneously aligned so as to achieve their growth and business plans and accomplishing their goals.

When strategies are not understood by the employees themselves it is not surprising when all the efforts to make a beautiful strategy is worthless. These strategies are never implemented to their fullest extent. The benefits which were to be reaped by these strategies are never realized. Further, the company starts hitting rock bottom due to failed attempts at achieving growth and decreasing morale among the workforce. In this regard, it would be fruitful to delineate the elements of a strategy as identified by Mike Rukstad. He identifies the three vital components of a magnificent strategy statement as objective, scope, and advantage. 

In my opinion, we have to answer the ‘W’ questions when designing a strategy statement - Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How? Companies who adopt to answer these questions will be able to better explain and understand the strategy among themselves first. After which, they can help the society to understand their place within the community, and the values they bring to the citizenry. 

Another important aspect to consider is to understand and include the competitive advantage within the strategy. Competitive advantage is what distinguishes companies from its competitors. It defines the special value proposition that the business offers to the clients. The sweet spot that needs to be attained is at the crossroads of the company’s capabilities and customers’ needs within the context where the company has its current business. A recent example can be of Apple when they introduced Apple Pay. They had a very clear strategy and goal when they introduced it in late October 2014. They aimed at becoming the m-commerce leader in a fixed time-span. Moreover, the executives from Apple were very clear on the strategy and to where they were heading in the near future. Further, they were able to translate their vision to their other clients like merchants (Dunkin’ Donuts, Kohl’s, BJ’s Wholesale Club, JCPenney, Panera Bread etc) 

Lastly, in my opinion, many a time, strategies are made wonderfully, but the problem comes when this vision is not translated to all employees properly and the strategic working is not sustained. This causes a large disconnect between expectations and the goals that are assigned within the company. With the current fast pace of the world, especially in the technology field, it becomes a strategy by itself for the companies to ensure that the employees are on-board with the vision and goals of the company. A strategy for strategy dissemination could be a need of the hour.

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