You can know all the latest and great tactics in your industry. You can have your finger on the pulse of what’s hot in your field. But if you don’t have a clear picture of your overall strategy for business, those tactics are worthless.
(And you’ve spent too much time, money, and energy learning them to render them useless, right?)
You want to set your business up for strategic success so that you can put those tactics and trends to use—and better yet, start to develop some of your own.
In a Harvard Business Review article by Roger Martin, strategy is defined as knowing Where You Want to Play and How You’re Going to Win. And while the essence of that—that business is a game and that there’s a clear path to winning—might have resonated with MBAs and corporate big wigs before the dawn of the New Economy, I don’t think it resonates with today’s new wave of entrepreneurs who are building communities and movements as much as they are building revenue streams and management systems.
So what do you need to know to set up your business for strategic success? Try these 5 questions I’ve adapted the framework that Martin poses to capture our context of creation and connection.
#NewEconomy Strategy: Where to Create & How to Connect
- What is your vision for making life meaningfully better for your business community and what are the metrics of success by which you’ll measure that vision?
- What conversation is your business a part of and what voices in that conversation are your best prospects looking for an alternative to?
- In the greater conversation your business is a part of, how will you represent your unique point-of-view to engage customers who are excited about your businesses strengths, skills, and passion?
- What are the unique strengths, skills, and passion (your Onlyness) your business can invest in to attract your best prospects?
- What product, marketing, sales, and management systems can you put in place to support and enhance your business’s unique strengths, skills, and passion?
Martin, who developed the strategic questions my adaptation is based on, argues iteration is the key to better strategy. You have to be willing to make an initial wager on the answer to your first question, then be willing to evolve that as you answer the second question, and so on.
There’s a dual imperative: to both be committed to your strategic thinking and be willing to iterate when the facts change.
This dual imperative holds true for the New Economy. With communities and conversations constantly evolving, your strategic vision also needs to be constantly open to change.
So while it’s always a good time of year to think strategically, I find that summer presents some great opportunities. As we wrap up the first half of the year, I challenge you to consider how your market, its opportunities, and your plans have evolved in 2014 and how you can evolve your own strategic vision for the second half of 2014 to make the impact in the world you’re here to make.