Creating a Meaningful Strategy – The Foundation Blocks
Over the years I have helped countless business owners and leaders create strategies to take them to the pot at the end of the rainbow. That pot isn’t just made of gold, it can of course be metaphorical – containing all the ingredients that help you define a successful business.
In traditional terms, strategy is defined as: ‘a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim’. That assumes you know where you’re going – and that you know where you are!
I recommend you start strategic thinking by looking at your business purpose. This is your ‘why’? Your raison d’etre. What is it you believe in and how does that shape your business and differentiate it from the rest? This is at the heart of your leadership and what motivates you.
Next look at your values. Beliefs are personal, whereas values are universal. They shape how you interact with others. They define how you work, and what you stand for. Your values will determine how you make decisions, how you attract talent, and lead teams.
Now it’s time to create your vision and define where you and the business are going! This is what inspires you and others to be a part of your business. Make sure you also capture how it will contribute to your wider community – the most inspiring businesses to engage with are those that have a broader mission and vision beyond profit. How will your business make a positive impact on all its stakeholders? At the same time, while it needs to be aspirational it also needs to be believable – it’s a vision, not a hallucination!
These are the foundation stones of strategy. Only once you have these in place can you work on what your success milestones (goals) are and how to get there. Typically, strategy is about the key elements that will lead your business to its goal e.g. innovative product, price, delivery, or service. For many entrepreneurs, the USP in their business is actually themselves – people are buying them as much as they are their products, services and ideas. If you are growing a business you need a strategy to lessen its reliance on you, and grow up in the right way – the 4 stages of growth .
Ultimately strategy is about your business story – where it is, where it is going, who you are as a leader and its place in the wider society it operates. Being clear on all the above will set you on the right footing and help ensure that action is aligned towards the end goal.
Joolz Lewis, The Corporate Hippy, has worked for years as a consultant, coach and mentor helping leaders grow their business in the right way – with purpose, values and people at the heart of their business. Her forthcoming book ‘Enlightened Business: Leadership for Sustainable Success’ will be published in Spring ’14. www.thecorporatehippy.co.uk