In my first post I wrote that the US Ivy League university Dartmouth College conducted research that showed that, in order to succeed in business, you must excel at four primary management practices:
There are also four secondary management practices, of which you have to excel at two, but we’ll leave those till later. This month I’m moving on to the second primary practice – Execution.
Whereas strategy is about deciding what you’re going to do to achieve your goal, execution is about actually doing those things. It is where the rubber hits the road. Hopefully the rubber is on a Tesla in ludicrous mode, because the faster you execute, the sooner you will hit your BHAG.
The nemesis of strategic execution is Business as Usual (BAU) or the Whirlwind. You know, serving customers, ordering inventory and supplies, payroll and bookkeeping, updating the website, doing sales calls, etc. They are all extremely important tasks, in fact your business would cease to exist without most of them. You can’t fail to do them, or more accurately, you can’t fail to ensure they are done. The truth is, however, that BAU will always expand to fill 100% of the time available, if you let it.
You must carve out some time. Without fail. Every week, you must do the one thing that will take you closer to your BHAG. This is the mindset change – ruthless refusal to allow your strategic execution time to be stolen from you by anything.
Over the last few months we have covered most of the major items needed for creating your vision and strategy. This month we will pull all of this material together and develop some strategic objectives.
Just before we do that though, I’ll cover off one more important issue. It is not good practice to develop strategy without some understanding of trends in your industry, your market, and the overall context within which you are running your business. Useful analyses include the Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis, and PEST Analysis, both easily googled.
I recommend that you take the time to carefully consider the questions and answer them as comprehensively as you can. It would be very unusual for there to be no insights for you from these analyses, and you should be as thorough as you need to be to discover them.
Review all the possible moves you could make, based on your work on your target market and its greatest need, your value discipline and competitive advantage, and your environmental analyses. The idea is to select the three moves that together, will take you furthest along the journey toward your BHAG. Picture yourself three to five years out into the future, with your three strategic moves completed – have you made satisfactory progress toward your BHAG? If not, see if you can identify more challenging strategic moves.
To give you a better idea of what a strategic move looks like, I have included some of my clients’ below (suitably camouflaged).
OK, that’s enough strategy for now. Next month, we will start a new topic – Execution, or getting stuff done.
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by Chris Bunce
Chris has 28 years’ experience as a management consultant and business coach. During this time he has worked with clients in many industries and of all shapes and sizes, including some in Australia, Asia and the US. Nowadays he is passionate about improving the lives of Aucklanders by helping business owners to master the very few management practices that actually make a difference to their success. Chris lives in Blockhouse Bay with his wife, Cathie, having lived in or around the area for most of his life.