The 3 main fundamental areas for creating a business strategy
1. Planning – Creating and tracking progress against an annual operating plan is an essential management tool for any business. What is often missing is the relationship these plans have to the future. Too often annual operating plans are created from the rear-view mirror. What happened last year and where should we go in the coming year? These are all good intentions. However, without a clear picture of what you want the future to look like, it will always be more reactive than proactive. A well-articulated 3 year long term view of the company should serve to inform the annual operating plan. The annual plan then becomes the stepping stone toward the achievement of the longer term goals.
2. Strengths and Weaknesses – At first glance this seems too obvious and you are saying to yourself, “Of course we know what our strengths and weaknesses are!” We cannot disagree. No one knows your business better than you. On the other hand, are you leveraging strengths (competitive advantages) and do you have plans to close capability gaps in your organization (weaknesses)? Strategy creates a higher level of awareness and provides greater focus on activities that will make the organization more successful.
3. Skills & Knowledge – If you know where you want to take your business over the long term, you will have a much better idea of the kinds of capabilities you will need to achieve your goals. Strategy defines and drives decisions in organizational design. Therefore by proactively pursuing new skills and knowledge, you prepare the organization for the intended future state and your odds of success increase.
Think about this route
Strategy has many tools for improving businesses but I have focused on these 3 areas for military projects in the gulf, on high–value construction projects and large companies that have lost direction and I have always achieved success when it comes to achieving client expectations.
It starts with understanding what you want out of the business, then it requires a sit-down with the business SMEs to set objectives which is the road map into success, and then most importantly the strategy around achieving each one of those objectives.
Top Tier sets the vision for the future
Senior Management sets objectives and defines strategy
Top Tier sets timelines to achieve those objectives
Progress meetings are set for monitoring purposes
Weekly progress meetings have to be set so you track deliverables and then people have to be made accountable or the business has no direction. This ends up being the most important meeting in the company as the ship is steered towards success.
Look at how the world is changing in front of our eyes and how technology is moving at such a fast pace, so unless you move with it, unfortunately your career is over.
Use someone like Steve Jobs as an example
He never started off being this amazing guest speaking where people would crowd into venues to watch this genius present a piece of technology that was years ahead of anything else. Steve Jobs had to learn and understand through the development stages so he could confidently present with extreme confidence.
People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk were introverts and they had to reinvent themselves in order to portray a high level of confidence so the public would listen to them because after all they were the face of the product that was sold all over the world.
The message is simple
Adapt and move with the times so you stay ahead of the curve and generate a higher value to the company you support. Everyone is seen as an asset or as time moves on, a liability.
Assets make money for businesses
Liabilities end up costing company’s money
Don’t fall into the liability bracket by stagnating and not adding value to the business. So I am going to suggest a simple tool to keep you ahead of the game and at the top of your career.
SWOT Analysis for Personal Development
Let’s review it
What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward.
If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career and help you achieve your personal goals.
What advantages do you have that others don’t have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?
What do you do better than anyone else
What personal resources can you access
What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths
Which of your achievements are you most proud of
What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit
Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don’t be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. Knowing and using your strengths can make you happier and more fulfilled at work
What tasks do you usually avoid because you don’t feel confident doing them
What will the people around you see as your weaknesses
Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest
What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress)
Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don’t see? Do co-workers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it’s best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible
What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet
Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market
Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice
What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them
Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes
Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling
Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses
What obstacles do you currently face at work
Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles
Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing
Does changing technology threaten your position
Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.