In the first three articles in this series, Darren explored the overall concept of healthy people and businesses, then Sue and Meriel took a more in-depth look at teams and systems and processes. All three of us have put our heads together and pooled our thoughts on business strategy.
Traditionally, a business strategy is a simple statement of how your business intends to achieve its goals, meet the expectations of its customers and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Continuing with the physical metaphor that we've been using in this series, your business strategy is a little like your conscious mind. It uses data to direct you towards your goals by focusing your attention on the key elements which are important.
However, a business strategy can often be more than a simple statement. It should support your business vision or mission. It's your opportunity to map out where you want your business to go, how you plan to get there and how your people's roles and behaviours can support this journey from A to B.
In a healthy business there is concern for more than just the financials. An effective strategy can unite everyone to a common goal or purpose. It can motivate and inspire your people, and it can set the direction to redefine systems and processes. An effective strategy might touch all parts of your business, providing a kind of health-check and ensuring that all parts are working harmoniously towards achieving your business goals. Any issues can be referred to the business doctors (aka subject matter experts) who will help to identify and resolve the underlying causes and eliminate adverse symptoms. Once resolved, an effective strategy will ensure that the business keeps running in optimum health.
You probably know that working without a strategy is likely to impact performance. It's like driving without a map and just hoping to get where you want to be.
Have you considered the impact that this might have on your people and their health?
If people are not connected or on board with your strategy, their motivation, their energy, their sense of purpose and contribution may also be compromised. That causes unhelpful levels of stress - and we all know the impact that has on personal health - and this in turn can impact the health of your business at every level.
Alternatively, you may have a strategy of sorts but your people either don't know about it or don't believe in it. Is that worse than having no strategy? We think so. You may have a mission, a vision and a strategy, but if you aren't living true to it then people will realise. That can lead to a lack of faith in the future direction of the business and can lead to anxiety because the business environment and leadership doesn't feel secure.
So, it's really important to align to your strategy and to bring your business strategy to life. Let it be about purpose, mission and vision. If you're able, get your people engaged in its creation. Consider how you'll make it live within your business, how you'll refresh it, how you'll display it, how you'll communicate it across roles and activities, and how your stakeholders or even your customers can be engaged in it too.
When you get all this aligned, then the energy and focus, and the health of both your people and business will flourish. Often some independent input is helpful to get this right. We appreciate that it's sometimes hard to see the wood for the trees when you are stuck in the middle of the forest. If you'd like some help navigating your way and creating your aligned strategy, then we're here to help.