The Core of Strategy
When we think of the core of an item we think of something that acts as a support upon which everything else can build and evolve. An apple’s core, for example, holds an apple together and provides seeds for future growth. The core of the earth supports the rocks above and acts as a lifeblood for our planet. Any core, whether an apple core or planet center, is most effective when it can be agile and change.
Like the earth or even the apple, businesses today have a core on which they rely to act as the strategic support on which everything else can build and evolve. Every well-planned business strategy has a beginning to provide a foundation, a middle to support ideas, and an end goal to be successful, but without remaining agile throughout the planning process, none of these things would be possible. Agility is at the core of every good strategy.
Agility in planning is the first foundational step in creating a robust strategy. After all, without a plan that is both flexible and strong, there is no strategic map from which businesses can grow. Surprisingly, only 23% of companies use a formal strategic planning process to make important strategic decisions. Companies need to plan for the future. Businesses need to plan strategies that work from the top down while taking into account every level of an organization, data, and the company’s overall vision. And, even after developing a map for strategic governance, companies should still evaluate the plan periodically to remain relevant and agile in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace.
When looking at strategic management, it is good to look at examples of companies who do it well. Apple is one such company. When Apple was struggling in the late 90s, it took a hard look at developing a better market plan. They evaluated their management team, simplified, and stopped holding to outdated strategies and products. What happened? They bounced back with phenomenal success. Apple is an excellent example of how the ability to be agile allows an organization to develop better strategies that simplify, streamline, and offer needed insight and understanding to everyone involved. A good strategy links managers to employees, and department to department while allowing for open lines of communication. Business who employ a strategy that is simple to see and allows communication across all channels can remain agile and focus on strategy execution.
There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “Vision without execution is a daydream. Execution without vision is a nightmare.” Execution and vision go hand and hand. Companies need to develop an overall vision statement to help define end goals, as businesses who establish end goals can better plan for execution. However, those end goals must also allow for agility throughout the process. A solid business strategy should not just rely on static metrics such as KPIs to drive decisions, it should take a holistic, dynamic approach that incorporates metrics such as KPIs with competitive analysis, internal thought leadership and a regularly-reviewed vision for the company. With proper agile strategic execution, any business can become stronger.
Organizations today are changing and evolving rapidly. They need strategies that serve as the foundation of their decision-making process while helping them remain agile for the future. Successful companies will remember that at the core of any good strategy lies the willingness to be agile and adaptable, ready to shift as needed to accomplish the end goal.