Having a successful business plan relies on two things: a solid business strategy and precise execution of that strategy. However, a recent study from PWC’s Strategy team revealed that only eight per cent of top business leaders were seen to be effective at both strategy and execution by their employees. And if the employees have low confidence in their leaders’ capabilities, it can be expected that clients are also having similar doubts.
Within small and medium size enterprises (SME), these results can suggest key areas for improvement - even if you are already in the top eight per cent.
Creating an improved strategy will give you and your entire company the best possible blueprint to each branch of business operations. And knowing how to execute the strategy will help develop highly valuable leadership skills throughout your entire workforce.
So how can you go about getting a clear strategy and execution to benefit your entire company?
Whether you are running a brand new start-up tech agency, or an established manufacturing company, creating a strategy for your entire business can be a monumental task. Not only do you need to bring together a lot of people from different departments, but you have to have organise the meeting to produce actionable results for each group afterwards. Yet, utilising knowledgeable third party consultants can be a great option in certain phases of your strategy process.
Of course, it’s improbable that one meeting can produce an entire strategy, but each meeting should be focused on the final goal of a written strategy document. To help align your team’s thinking here are 3 things to keep in mind when forming a strategy:
1. Start big and then get (very) detailed - The best step to align everyone’s thoughts and ideas is to make sure the overall company ideals, values, and goals are well-understood. If you are looking to expand your business to include a new product or region, having everyone’s ideas centered around that will save many headaches down the road.
2. Plan it all, for everyone - Once you’ve gathered all the best suggestions, you need to figure out what that actually means. If you determine that more advertising should happen, that’s great, but what does that mean? How much will be spent? What channels are you going to use? Who will be involved? In this planning stage, having the insight of a consultant or outside party can assist in reaching optimal effectiveness in the plans you lay out.
3. Include the specific steps, with room for change - Now that you have the plan for your strategy execution, add specific details. Who in each department is going to be involved? Do you need to outsource anything? When is each phase to be completed? Make sure that you leave a little bit of wiggle room here and there for any unforeseen obstacles.
Remember that a creation of a strategy is neither quick, nor a one-time process. As time consuming as strategy planning might be, it is necessary to align your business. Furthermore, assuming your goals will be continually evolving over time, your strategy should be updated (or redone) in accordance with these shifts as well.
Making it work
There is no use in creating a robust, detailed strategy if it is not going to be adhered to by the company. Therefore, strategy creation is really only the first piece of the puzzle.
First, you and your company need to stick to the plan you’ve just created. Try making it a habit within your teams to constantly refer to the strategy. Use it as a guiding document in activities and projects. Of course it will be expected that the plan or calendar will be regularly used, but also seek to refer to the overall strategy and goals as well. You or your team might find a piece that seems misaligned to the main points. Remembering to take in the big picture and to regularly review the entire document to keep your team on course.
Next, if you find anything that seems out of place, don’t try to fit your business to the strategy, but adjust the strategy to the business. Since the strategy creation was long and, most likely a bit stressful, you may find after a few weeks that certain pieces don’t fit as well as you had intended. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments during the execution. This is not to say that you should rewrite the entire strategy halfway into its execution, but amendments and additions shouldn’t be ignored completely.
Finally, when you do find areas for improvement or accommodation, make note of it. Alternatively, if you find a certain action from the strategy plan that performs or works very well, document that as well. By keeping detailed notes and tracking throughout the entire execution phase, you can understand a fuller picture of your strategy and execution exercise, better equipping you and your team in the next strategy creation.
Having a partner assist your company in the the tracking and analysing phase can allow you to help guide the overall execution much more directly.
You’re not alone
While the want, and need, to be a business leader who is strong at both strategy and execution is exceptional, it can also turn into a great burden. However, by using partners such as Praxity participating firms, you will find the necessary professional specialists your SME needs, alongside deep industry expertise that is invaluable.Get in touchwith us today to see how we can assist you in any phase of your strategy and execution objectives.