Strategy is about determining the long-term focus of the organization with specific, concrete, realistic, measurable, and time-bound objectives, which also have a designated person to lead the way in taking them forward. Every business has a strategy – at least in somebody’s head. A strategy, which is known to others, and, even better, shared and jointly developed, brings the most value to the organization.
Is creating a strategy easy? No, it is not. If it was easy, everybody would succeed in it. What are then the typical difficulties in creating a strategy?
- Lack of strategic thinking in terms of strengths of the leadership.
- Lack of a common tool, which would enhance the creation of a strategy.
- Lack of prioritization: as one CEO put it: “We are too busy rowing over the ocean that we have no time to turn on the engine of the boat.”
- Insufficient facilitation: in order for us to succeed in creating strategy, the strategy process requires good and professional facilitation.
- Lack of measurability: most strategies are too general, and the ideas are often written in too broad statements. They don´t have the needed clarity. That is why it is difficult in the end to answer the question: ”Did we achieve this?”
If we are lacking in the five elements or in some of them, strategy workshops may get held, and some work is also being done, but the outcome seldom satisfies neither the company nor the Leadership Team nor the workers.
A guaranteed way of succeeding in strategy development
- Strength-based thinking and application of strength analyses is a key part of productive Leadership Team teamwork in crafting strategy. Understanding strengths makes it also clearer, what are the areas where the Leadership Team does not have strengths and which areas need to be compensated by good practices.
- Strategy work requires a good and a common tool; otherwise, our approach to strategy gets stuck in difficult-to-understand conversations.
- The leadership must make strategy a priority; the dates for strategy workshops need to be calendared and the participation is non-negotiable.
- ”Facilitation” means to make the strategy process flow easily and produce results. A facilitator is needed, either from the inside of the organization or from the outside. The CEO is not the best person to facilitate the strategy workshop, because he or she anyway has the final say in formulating the strategy. A good facilitator enables the whole strategy-forming group to engage in the process.
- Strategies tend to be too general. Instead, the objective needs to be specific, clear, achievable, and measurable. An appointed person is to take the area of objective forward.