Strategy is an age-old concept that many organizations are still trying to master. How do you build a good one? How do you execute it? How do you know everyone in the organization is on board and knows what to do? And ultimately, how do you know if it will be (or even was) successful?
There are many, many…. many books on strategy. And also, many frameworks, tools, planning processes and tips that companies are using and developing every year. When it comes down to it, you need 3 main things to make sure your strategy is effective.
1. The strategy needs to start with where you are
Start by analyzing the current situation. What is the current environment and internal capabilities of the organization?
Before you can figure out where you want to go and how to get there, you need to know where you are.
A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is a good place to start. Don’t forget that strengths and weaknesses are internal and opportunities and threats are external. At the end of the analysis, the outcome should be a strategy, i.e. what are you going to do about the opportunities you see in the market? Think about which strength can you leverage, which weakness do you need to address, etc.
2. Pick a planning process, any process, but pick one
We see a lot of our clients wrestling to have the perfect planning process. In our experience, we have seen many different processes, plans and using different words and terminology for the different steps.
It is not about the process but about the output, the “so what”. What are you going to do with the information and what is the plan?
No one process is better than another. So, it’s better to pick a plan, stick with it and focus on how it can be executed, vs. making sure all pieces/slides/templates are filled out.
3. Harness your competitive advantage
The most important element of your strategy, and the most often overlooked, is your competitive advantage. Based on the analysis done above, what is the one differentiator, the one thing that makes you stand out from your competitors?
This element can get lost in all the other pieces and parts of planning but is the most important. It is also the most important point to communicate internally to make sure that all functions in the organization know about it, know how to sustain it and know what their role is in keeping it top of mind.
4. Break free from the competition
The concepts developed in Blue Ocean Strategy can help identify what is that one unique, competitive advantage. By looking at the “value-up/cost-down” paradigm, you can identify what can be eliminated and focus on the key elements to improve your offering or even create a new one.
With Blue Ocean Strategy, consumers don’t have to choose between value and affordability. If a company can identify what consumers currently appreciate and then rethink how to provide them with what they really want, differentiation and low cost can be achieved. This is termed “value innovation.”
Create a strategy that stands out from the rest
Our Blue Ocean Strategy simulation (BOSS) teaches participants how to develop innovative strategies by thinking critically and using the tried and tested Blue Ocean methodology.
Learn more about BOSS innovation training.