Business Strategy is something an individual, team, division or a company need to re-visit often. Sometimes it’s needed when no plan exists or there’s no shared view of where we need to be and we need to all be on the same page – fast. Other times it’s needed as a stock-take, to focus reflection and assessment of where we are and what may be needed. Once we have a strategy in place we need to be wise and flexible so that our dialogue isn’t only around what we set out to achieve and how we faired against that but also what strategies emerged that were unexpected and innovative and which we need to factor in to our new plan or recognise developed out of necessity at the time but need to be let go of, if we’re to come back to our core vision.
Strategy isn’t linear, it’s the plans we make at the beginning of our journey, along the way and even if we feel we’ve made it to our destination. It’s our game plan as the environment changes and we encounter different obstacles both anticipated and unplanned. Strategy keeps us asking the questions that count and making sure we invest the time and energy in finding answers that propel us forward. It’s a moment on the timeline that’s a creative pause, looking ahead, looking behind and then assessing the gap and how best to navigate the present.
strike the balance – process and practice
Facilitating the process is like any other skill it needs a combination of theoretical knowledge and understanding, years of practice in design and execution in this area and the right temperament to be able to balance content, people and process requirements in a result-demanding and time-pressured setting. It’s what good facilitators do and what great companies commit to on an ongoing basis.
reinforce changes – favourable patterns
Coaching is an aspect of strategy, as once we know as an individual, team or division, where we need to be and what’s required to move us there, we often find we need additional tools and resources. Coaching is a way to come alongside at a time like this and reinforce those changes that are needed and the skills required to implement those changes. Coaching helps create favourable patterns of thinking, conversation and behaviour that will support strategy going forward.
strengthen connections – conversations matter
Communication is the connecting thread; it’s the enabler in strategic conversations. As a model, communication appears relatively simple, but as it involves us and our beliefs, values, perceptions, languages and backgrounds, it can become frustratingly complex. Without open, non-judgemental, filter-aware communication, it’s very difficult to have the conversations that count and as a result the pursuit of sound strategy suffers day-to-day, medium and long term.