As a leader one of your key roles is to set out the overall direction for the organisation over the medium to long term. Pick up any textbook and it might seem like the easiest thing in the world to do. Yet in reality it is often an area of real struggle. Why is this and what can you do about it?
Challenge 1: Spending sufficient time
As a leader or leadership team you are making major choices and decisions that have a impact on:
• The organisation
• Customers or service users
• Shareholders and stakeholders
Yet often leadership teams spend far too little time on this vital area. You might be familiar with or even participated in a one or two day away day where you spend time looking at the future direction. While this is a useful starting point, it has many limitations.
Solution: Schedule sufficient time to develop strategy and make it a rolling process where time is taken out at least every 2-3 months to keep the strategy relevant and up to date.
Challenge 2: Answering key questions
All organisations exist for some reason or other. In developing strategy there is a great temptation for people to come up with aspirations that may or may not be linked to the core purpose. This might be due to key questions not being identified and answered.
Solution: Start any discussion around strategy by getting clear answers to the following key questions:
• What are we here to do as an organisation?
• Who are we doing it for?
• What results do we want to deliver for our stakeholders?
Challenge 3: Connecting strategies
There clearly needs to be an overall direction in which the organisation is heading and top level goals. At the same time the sub-strategies for Finance, Marketing, IT, Customer Relationship Management, Production, etc need to be connected.
Solution: As well as being crystal clear about the overall direction and goals, make sure that there are detailed sub-strategies to achieve the goals which are consistent and joined up.
Bottom Line – In theory creating and implementing effective strategy is simple but in practice is extremely challenging. So what challenges do you need to address to develop and implementing even better strategies?
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.