Connecting with the clients, customers and communities that matter most isn’t easy on a good day.
What’s your plan when times get tough?
For many professionals – especially entrepreneurs – talent, good instincts, and ability to manage many big rocks at once often leads to enviable success, especially in the early days.
Then comes growth. Market shifts. The inevitable technology hack that threatens, or is poised to threaten, your industry. (That’s everyone, BTW.) Or, it’s a little thing that doesn’t feel quite right, in your product, your culture, your ask...and your gut says it has the potential to become something big and disruptive.
Enter the S-word. (No, STRATEGY!) Wait, don’t plug your ears. It’s not a swear.
In some circles, strategy is a well understood necessity. Other times, it’s a sigh-producing, stress inducing proposition.
Strategy can feel:
Even though it’s been 16+ years since Jim Collins introduced the world to the flywheel, and its much less attractive step-sister, the doom loop, strategy still has a bad rap. And there’s no end to the contradictory business lit you can consume on this topic.
Everything is strategy. Strategy is everything. Execution trumps strategy. Strategy trumps execution. I’d rather have brilliant execution with a mediocre strategy. And vice versa. And on and on… But what’s the real, practical, deal?
Here are a few first steps to lay the foundation for a killer strategy:
It takes gutsy leadership to abandon a set of tactics in place of a disruptive strategy. Refusing to change because that’s the way you’ve always done it is not okay.
Iterate or deteriorate.
You can’t tell an effective story and have it spread if you haven’t figured out the component parts of your strategy. The risk without it is actually more money spent, more talent churn, and lost market share, long-term.
The upside is a committed group of staff and customers who know where you’re going, why it’s so important, and their role in getting there.
And that’s how you win.
As seen in the August Edition of Business London.
Jeff & Lindsay Sage are the co-founders and senior strategists at sagecomm, which specializes in brand, product and issue positioning, marketing strategy, and community engagement.