You Need These Five Things to Focus Your Strategy

Photo on 5-8-13 at 1.08 PM #3Most would agree that strategy is defining what direction your organization is going in.  The choice of strategy needs to be aligned with, not just what products or services you provide, but ensuring that everyone understands how you will get there.  Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi posit  [strategy] “must be integrated with choices about one’s identity, purpose, and capabilities”.  The organization must have a clear identity, know what the purpose of the organization is and its demonstrated capabilities.

There are multiple ways to create strategy, yet if the team doesn’t understand how the capabilities contribute to customer value, that can be a problem.  If the team doesn’t understand who your key competitors are, that’s a problem.  When your team is not on the same page about how the company defines success, that is a problem.  Furthermore, if the team is not on the same page about strategy, the company is not likely to reach its goals.

There are five things you can do, to help your company and employees,  fine tune what is the corporate strategy

  1. Clearly define, understand and be able to articulate who your customer is.
  2. Define how you create value for your customer.
  3. Be very specific when defining what your products and services are.
  4. Continually scan current competitors and those seeking to enter into your industry.
  5. Develop an integrative strategy process that is agile and nimble to change with the market.

Clearly defining and understanding who your customer is, allows members of your company to articulate the value proposition to each potential and current customer.  I once worked with and organization that strongly believed that every employee, from the hourly wage earner up to the CEO, needed to understand the basic tenets of the company’s strategy.  They did this by printing their strategic vision on a business size card.  This simple practice enabled each employee to quickly transform into a company spokesperson. Each employee was empowered to clearly articulate what the corporate capabilities are.

There are numerous ways companies create value for their customer.  One such way is packaging your product and service at the right price.  Each organization should have a pricing strategy that quantifies and creates value for the customer. Ask the question, “what can the market bear”? In order to find the answer to that question, research needs to be conducted.  Begin by assessing what your competitors charge for similar products and services. Determine what gap you fill in the market.

Building agility into your strategy provides a measure of flexibility to allow innovation occur at all levels of the organization.  Create a fertile environment of creativity.  Make all employees feel valued by providing a forum to explore and pitch new ideas.  Create an environment of “one team, one fight”.  Strategy is everyone’s business.  You never know where the next innovation comes from.  Strategy and innovation doesn’t always happen in the board room.

Cheers!

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Renee Sanders is a PhD candidate in business at Capella University, where her specialization is strategy and innovation. Renee holds an BBA and MBA from the University of Maryland University College. Renee currently works in for a defense contractor as the Director of Strategic Pricing and Price to Win.

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