If you don’t know where you’re going,
any old way will do.
If your company is not working on surviving you have to be focused on growing, excelling and achieving goals. That’s a fact. Because, invariably, when we take our eyes off the target we usually miss. In other words, if you don’t get everyone rowing in the same direction, you’ll soon be working survival again before you know it. It can be a vicious cycle. Now’s the best time to get a handle on what you’ll need to make the journey make sense (to everyone in your company), with the least amount of energy and resources expended. There are three elements; they comprise your strategic intent.
Research has shown, over and over again, that employees are happier when they know they’re working for a unified purpose. Employees want to understand how their efforts contribute to the overall business. They want to feel that they are making a difference to their team, department, and to the company. In short, engaged employees want to know where the company is going. They can easily sense when leadership is confident that they’re on the right path to accomplish what they’re after. Communicate your strategic intent to set forth clarity, direction and definition for everyone within the company.
Of course organizational direction comes in many forms. The mission statement for example, while very important, is foundational—and the least specific. Conversely, clear statements of intent force you to be very specific and therefore unique. That’s the whole idea. No other company will have the same strategic intent. It’s all yours and its purpose is to define where you’re going and leverage competitive advantage to the max. Like a flywheel, you’ll gain momentum because it informs stakeholders, guides employees and focuses leadership toward the same shared end game. That’s engagement that is hard to stop.
Think really big
Notice that I’ve not used the word “limit” in any form thus far. Tie your intentions closely with your vision of what your future could possibly look like. Think big, it gets people excited. This is not the time to think about limited resources or even skills you don’t currently possess. History has shown that companies that have risen to market leadership have invariably begun with big ambitions that were out of all proportion to their resources—and even their capabilities, at the time. Owning clear intentions have been the foundation for their success—some of those companies refer to their strategic intent as an “obsession.” So get started, here are the three elements, briefly outlined, that comprise an effective statement of intent. Hint: get everyone involved in this.
Define the end game that the strategy is designed to achieve. Be very specific. Think about the vision and use pictures freely where words fail. (Hint: You can download pictures of Ferraris on the Internet. Google>Images>Ferrari.) Explore and define the kind of growth you want most? It’s not sufficient to say, “We seek to grow profitably.” Ask, which matters most, growth or profitability? Pick one. To take it to the street level for a moment, a salesperson needs to know “which one?” when deciding how aggressive to be on price when he puts together his value proposition. Finally, give it a time frame, when will the objective be met?
How can you use Scope to help you define the business? What part of the industrial landscape or domain will the company operate? This may include areas where you have not yet ventured but show signs of growth in the future. What would be the boundaries the company will not venture past? Are there specific industries you intend to focus on? Will you consider business partnerships or new unconventional business relationships? Will you expand or narrow the types of material you’ll work. Are there worldwide, geographic area(s) you want to claim in the future? Or, perhaps you want to focus on a type of customer. Describe that customer in broad terms. The point is that defining scope will, on one hand, define opportunities and on the other, limit your exposure—all at the same time.
“Advantage” is the essence of your operational strategy. It defines the all-important means by which you will achieve your objective. In broad sense, what will the business do differently from, or better than others?
Here’s an example:
Many competitors failed to see Honda’s strategic intent at work in the 60s. When Honda took on the motorcycle industry, it began with products that were just outside the conventional definition of product-market domains. The hugely successful, user-friendly “Honda 50” (which I owned) established a base of operations in under-defended territory while Honda was racing larger bikes in Europe—assembling the design skills and technology it would need for a planned systematic expansion across the entire spectrum of motor-related businesses. It worked.
Be different. Most companies will not appreciate the audacity of having a clear strategy for their intent. One that everyone in the company can internalize and use as a north star for each decision they will make.
HIT Solutions believes the more your business keeps up with important trends, the more you will improve your product, and improve your bottom line.
Leave me your comments below; share your thoughts.