It doesn't matter if you're a CEO at a multibillion dollar company or an entrepreneur starting your first venture, devising a company strategy can be a daunting task. Here are four key aspects to any successful strategy.
You're willing to change it up
Even some of the world's most respected companies have been forced into a strategic rethink. Back in the early nighties, Apple was going through an identity crisis. Steve Jobs had been relieved of his duties and the company's portfolio was a mess. After Jobs was reinstated in 1997 the company changed its focus. It started concentrating on design, a decision culminating in the initial iMac and the first iPod.
This example shows that strategic change is sometimes necessary enroute to success.
Everybody knows about it
It isn't practical to expect senior management teams to divulge every single strategic intricacy to its entire workforce. There is, however, no excuse for a 'them and us' situation to arise, where employees are kept in the dark regarding the company's direction. It makes autonomy - or an entrepreneurial culture - a difficult goal to achieve.
A lack of direction can cause complacency, and stifle an employee's creativity as they are too reliant on their manager's approval.
You understand that strategy and planning aren't the same thing
Many are guilty of using the words 'strategy' and 'planning' interchangeably. If you were to look them up in a dictionary you would find little to differentiate between the two terms. In a business context, the difference is far from subtle.
Both are reliant on one another to work. Without a strategic plan, a strategy is a just a collection of goals - there's no guidance. It's the same premise for planning too. You can't plan to achieve something if there's nothing to work towards.
It's crystal clear
A messy strategy is like hammering the first nail in a company's coffin. Take Firestone. After making the decision to lengthen the lifespan of its tyres, it quickly became clear that they weren't up to scratch. Many drivers reported that the tires would wear down quickly, causing them to lose grip. Yet despite public outcry, they continued with the new strategy.
Had Firestone planned their strategy more effectively, an error such as this wouldn't have happened. People below senior management may have questioned the company's decision, and forced them to rethink what they were doing.