Readers of this blog know that one of the things that CMOE has been dedicated to for more than 30 years is helping managers and individual contributors understand how to think more strategically and apply strategy in their team or functional area.
Over the years we have heard the same questions, “What does strategy really do, what does it accomplish, and why should I care about it?”
The answer is simple. Strategy is designed to help you win, to help you gain an advantage. Every business needs strategy. But, if strategy is going to pay off, you need to know what winning looks like and the kind of advantage you want to gain. The first step to accessing the benefits of strategy is to answer these questions:
- What does winning mean to you?
- What is the position you want to achieve?
- What do you want to happen?
The results you seek might be tangible—classic things like better financial results, better customer service scores, more top-selling products and/or services, etc. These are the “have” results.
Other results are less tangible and include such things as being a reliable supplier, becoming a creative problem solver, or finding and working with a dependable strategic partner. These types of outcomes are the “be” results.
At its core, a strategic plan is about having a clear picture about what you want and why you are fighting the war. A strategic plan is about taking action on the things that make you want to get up in the morning, and focusing on what drives your passion. Thinking strategically, and taking a strategic approach, is something that will draw you closer to the outcomes you are seeking and the things you care about.
Strategy drives success. Strategy creates huge benefits for the individual, the team, and the organization because it pushes us to clarify the end we have in mind. It doesn’t have to be a detailed, measurable target all the time. But at a minimum, it does need to be a concept, vision, or direction that you want to move in.
Then, knowing what success looks like, you can dig deeper into strategy and find opportunities to break the results into smaller sub-goals that allow you to create large goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
For more detailed information on setting SMART goals, read this post: /blog/the-relationship-between-practice-and-strategy/.