We recently conducted a business strategy review at Front Line Systems. It was a very powerful exercise and allowed us to revisit the: Who, What, Why and How for our business. We looked at our present and determined the steps we need to take to where we want to go in the future.
We re-evaluated our mission, lessons learned from the previous year and then narrowed down our strategy to 3 things we want to do this year to be wildly successful over the next 12 months. Here are a few takeaways from this process:
You need to determine what makes your business unique:
You’ve heard the quote: ‘Be Yourself, Because Everyone Else is Already Taken.’ That concept applies to businesses too when it comes to defining your businesses strategic positioning and strategy. Michael E. Porter in his article, “What is Strategy? in the Harvard Business Review says ‘Competitive Strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.’
Porter says there are 3 distinct sources for strategic positions:
- Variety based positioning – When a company can best produce particular products or services using a distinctive set of activities.
- Needs based positioning – Serving most or all the needs of a particular group of customers.
- Access based positioning – Segmenting customers who are accessible in different ways.
Another important thing to be aware of in your business strategy review is the need for trade-offs.
Business Strategy Review: You have to choose what not to do:
- The article discusses that just choosing a unique position isn’t enough. You have to guarantee a sustainable advantage. A competitor can easily imitate your unique position. You have to use trade-offs to protect yourself from straddlers and repositioners.
- Trade-offs are also important because you cannot allow for inconsistencies in your image and reputation.
- Trade-offs arise from the need to choose and purposely limit what a company offers, so you can deliver on what you have to offer.
Business Strategy Review – Action Item: Define your business mission in 3 sentences or less for this year.
Consider the whole-person paradigm when reviewing your strategy:
Steven Covey, in his book: The 8th Habit talks about the importance of considering the whole person within an organization. If you neglect the spirit, mind, body or heart of an organization it will lead to dis-empowerment of the employees and misalignment in the organization.
Here are a few ways that can happen:
- Spirit: If your employees are consistently treated in a way that is contrary to your conscience it will lead to low trust levels within the organization.
- Mind: If you neglect the mind or vision of the organization it will lead to no common shared vision and a chaotic culture within the organization.
- Body: Neglecting the organizations structures, systems, processes and culture will lead to no alignment within the organization.
- Heart: If there is no passion or emotional connection to the goals or work this will lead to dis-empowerment of employees. There will be a lot of boredom, escapism, anger, fear, apathy and malicious obedience within the organization.
Business Strategy Review – Action Item: Determine 3 business goals (that take the whole person paradigm into consideration) for this year to become wildly successful.
Steven Covey says it may take anywhere from 2-3 years to address the different parts of the whole-person paradigm within the organization. However, if left unaddressed will continue to present themselves as acute problems within the organization.
So when was the last time you re-evaluated your business strategy? What trade-offs and changes are you making to ensure that there are no trade-offs between your image and reputation.
Here are a few resources for your business strategy review:
Check out this video: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
Check out this video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXbYQPa9OVY
For more information on how you can improve your business strategy, or choose business technology that supports your existing business strategy, please contact Front Line Systems at 866-435-0243 today.