Did the Greeks when they won the battle of Marathon have a strategy? Yes!
A strategy is an essential piece of the puzzle for success; without it we allow external competitors to hit and hurt our business. Yet, many businesses do not have a strategy at least explicitly.
Much has been written about strategy from various angles and depths, in fact, so much that it made the adoption of strategy more obscure instead of clearer. The result is that most of us think that we know what strategy is about but, at the same time, lack the capacity to take concrete steps to shape it and put it into practice.
Below we present by way of example a simple step by step approach to highlight how we can draft a meaningful strategy and a strategic action plan based on the work we did for a client. The sequence, overall, is important. The content of the 3rd column of the table has of course been modified and some pieces are omitted for reasons of confidentiality. The strategy questions are in column 2 and the individual company’s responses in the last column.
|Steps||Strategy Question topics||Answers|
|1||Mission – Why we are in business||To take people to their destinations|
|2||Values and Beliefs – by what standards we will operate||RespectEfficientAppearance
|3||Vision – How we would like to be seen in the future||No 1Preferred provider|
|4||Strategy statement components|
|4.1||Objectives – the pylons our vision rests upon||Train stopsTrainsStaff (……………………………..)|
|4.2||Scope – Where we will compete||Train servicesLondon- Paris – Berlin|
|4.3||Our advantage||Relationship building with staff and externalsManagement personally involvedKnows the business|
|4.4||Our competitors’ advantage||Bigger operations – cross-financingMore OPEX & CAPEX – modernizes easierMore in control of prices and fares|
|5||Strategy – An overall recurring theme of how we will win and reach our goals||Use our Competitive Advantage to limit market share for our competitors so that …………………………………………………Be an early adopter of innovations to neutralize your competitor’s advantage|
|6||Strategic Action Plan that will realize strategy||………… stopsAhead Competitor ………………Create dedicated, enthusiastic staff – Staff ownership
Supervision – Coordination – timely intervening
|7||KPIs – result from considering each Strategic Objective (pylon)||Market shareCustomer satisfaction index – Survey results from customers (what they liked best what worst for us to take action)Unimplemented customer suggestions
Communication frequency with staff
The simplicity of the process is attractive though you have to work hard utilizing your full experience for the answers to the strategy questions. It will appeal, in particular, to those companies that now don’t develop a strategy on the grounds that they cannot sustain its lengthy and complex procedures.
For those with further interest in the topic or in other management services: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training and can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: +357 99640912, +357 24400884, www.sardossolutions.com