What is a Winning Strategy?
Strategy is simply “How you win”. Taking time to identify the goal you want to accomplish, and also noting how it will be done. A winning strategy is clear and concise, that allows a clear path to success for the team.
Why do you need a good strategy?
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” (Winston Churchill). It’s important to remember the reason for strategy in your business – to win. You want your business to get to the next level, and that doesn’t happen randomly. A good strategy is going to help everyone on the team focus on the victory and work towards the same goal.
In creating a strategy for the business – too many companies over-complicate the process. 67% of strategies fail due to over-complicated execution. You do not need to spend 3 hours determining if your mission statement uses the word “Value” instead of “Benefit”. It’s not the best use of time. A good strategy should be clear and easy to follow. We’ve compiled the 5 things you should avoid when setting strategy for your business. Because clear and concise beats confusing and complicated every time.
The 5 Things to Avoid In Strategy Planning
1. Unclear Goal
“You can’t hit a target you’re not aiming for.”
Your goal statement needs to be clear, grounded in reality (not just dreams), and sticky (meaning significant and memorable to the teams who will be responsible for making the goal a reality). Effective goals are based on analyzing the current state of your business, thinking about where you ideally want to be, and identifying how to bridge the gaps. Having a clear and memorable goal statement allows your team to rally around a shared path, knowing exactly what they need to accomplish to be successful.
2. Vague or Overextended Time Horizons
In this age of technology, automation, and globalization, things change FAST. Consider the flashlight industry and what a heartbreak it must have been when every mobile device came equipped with a flashlight on the go. How about cameras? #facepalm. You get the point. Strategy can be set up to fail when the time horizon is too long. We recommend working in one-year increments. No more than three. Too many changes – don’t waste your or your team’s time “planning” when you can’t possibly have all the data that the future will bring.
3. Too Many “Key” Priorities
If you have 25 “Key” priorities, you actually have none. The human brain can’t focus on too much at once. The same is true for a company or a team. Too many “priorities” yields a continuous state of hyper-activity with not a whole lot of value being produced. Projects are left partially completed, or done with insufficient quality as the team pretzels itself to try to address all the competing initiatives. The risk for burn-out is high, and the likelihood of excelling in any area drops. We recommend identifying your top 3 key priorities, and working those through until early wins have been achieved and bandwidth is reasonably available to move forward to the next round of priorities.
4. Failing to Engage Key Team Members
It’s easy to think strategy is just about setting the vision…it’s not. Strategy is about winning. Strategy without action is meaningless. In order to set the vision with well-rounded information, key team members need to be involved. You want their buy-in. You’ll benefit from their input. But you’ll absolutely need them to execute. Note that we’re NOT saying to haphazardly call in every employee – who you involve, when you bring them in, and how you engage them are critical elements in successfully designing strategy. Bring the right rockstars together and equip them with the right instruments and let them jam.
5. Neglecting to Create Systems for Accountability + Follow-Through
You’ve been there before. A lengthy, expensive, heavy-lift of a strategic retreat. It’s a lot of work. BUT, people do leave feeling fired up. “We’re going to make it to the moon and back! How exciting!” But then Monday morning comes…and the inbox is full…and those “urgent” (though not necessarily important) tasks are still there…and all of that fancy strategy work dies on the back burner. Nothing actually changes. Goals are left unachieved. Your people quietly resent the wasted time and empty promises. From where we sit, this is painful and frankly unacceptable.
Strategy MUST be accompanied by action. On the front end, this means creating structures to ensure accountability and follow-through. Including these elements in the creation of your strategy means you are taking your team’s time, and the achievement of your goals seriously. Don’t let your strategic planning session end without a follow-up plan!
We’ve hit the 5 things you need to avoid when setting a strategy for your business. Now you can confidently set a vision that your team can easily rally behind – which means an easier path to success for the company!
Strategy is only one component in a peak performing team. If you’re wondering what to do next, we suggest focusing on how you can improve the people aspect of your team, as well as the processes you utilize. After working with large and small teams across the country in a variety of industries – we’ve found that a strong strategy, collaborative people, and effective processes all indicate a team is performing at its peak.
Where does your team measure today in terms of peak performance?
What’s standing in your way?
What are you ready to do about it?
Want to learn more about partnering with a Peak Performance coach? Contact us to learn more.