“When was the last time you sat down and thought about how to put yourself out of business? I assure you, your competitors are thinking about it right now.”- Dave Clare
“Are your strategies aligned, not to, but from vision and mission?”
Has your business, or one you have worked for, ever gone away for one of those strategic planning retreats? You know the one, two or three-day getaways with the leadership and management team to develop or re-assess your strategy? Usually an offsite at a nice hotel or resort (hopefully with a golf course!) where you attend planning sessions for a few days out of the office and do some team building.
At Circle Leadership Global, we work with leaders to develop their strategic plans. Instead of a retreat, we refer to them as a Strategic Advance©. Why? We are there to advance the business towards the vision. We are advancing towards fulfilling our mission.
The secret of strategy is to make sure it is aligned to your mission from your vision. The best way to do that is to reverse engineer it from your vision and mission. Strategy is a purpose-driven leader’s work of art.
Too many strategies are built on how we can make money. Instead, strategy is all about the MISSION. Financing and/or funding the mission is all a part of it; they are critical inputs, but not outputs. The fundamentals of strategy are to develop ongoing plans that will ideally allow your business to become what it needs to BE (Mission), to create the world you see (Vision). This is an ongoing evolution of becoming throughout the years ahead, hence we will talk about planning horizons. Remember that your vision is the world you see (you are creating) from fulfilling your purpose (solving a problem) through your values (your unique thinking).
One of the keys to successful implementation and execution of strategy is understanding it. After all, the greatest strategy in the world will amount to nothing without the right culture to drive solid execution. Make the aligned plan simple and easy to execute. Imagine an invincible culture with a strategy that is executed flawlessly. The simpler it is, the higher the chance of that happening. Don’t overthink it. Then all you must do is strive every day to improve upon the previous day’s results.
“Leadership is an art. Management is a science. Strategy is the art of the leader. Tactics are the science of management.” – Dave Clare
Once the strategy is laid out, it is then broken down into shorter-term steps or tactics. Tactics now follow strategy. Much like strategy is the art of the leader, tactics are the science of management.
Tactics are the short-term moves or plans followed to achieve the strategies laid out at the ground level. This is what creates the operational plan for the management or team to implement and execute in priority fashion. Total alignment from vision to mission, mission to strategy and strategy to tactics. Done simply for, and in part by, the team. This enables them to understand it, own it, embrace it and act on it. All the while guided by the values. Does it need to be any more complicated than that?
If in five years you see your organisation becoming the type of business it needs to, then follow this series of questions:
- What strategies / plans would you have in place to ensure you become that in five years’ time?
- To achieve those plans, what would you need to have completed in 3 years’ time?
- Then, what would you need to have underway in one year to be on track for that in three years’ time?
Strategy is not about HOW we make money. It is about WHY we make money. It is all about how we become the business or organisation that will fulfil the PURPOSE to achieve the VISIONthrough the VALUES. It is reverse engineered from the MISSION to become that business. Over the lifetime pursuit of the vision, the organisation will need to become something more in five years, than it is today. The same can be said for the next five years after that too. WHY you do what you do won’t change, but HOW and WHAT you do will, as you continue to become more than you were before.
The question is will you think strategically at this level? Will you be number one, but think and act like number two? Your competitors (new and old) are wondering how to dominate your market, your industry and your clients.