Summer of Strategy
by Lauren Buckman
Summer of Strategy
This summer at Navigate, we’re focusing on strategy (not to be confused with strategery). Each week we’ll be sharing tips about how to be strategic in your business or organization: how to set goals, what to do if you get stuck, and how to market more effectively. Check back here for the most recent tip of the week. Enjoy!
Use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis to take an assessment of your entire company: from your overall structure down to each individual team member. This is a very effective tool for identifying your internal strengths and weaknesses and your external opportunities and threats. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to see more clearly where you’re vulnerable to threats and missed opportunities, and also how you can use your strengths to minimize threats and maximize opportunities.
Make sure everyone on your team has someone to support and encourage them. If you are the leader of your company, get a coach or mentor to build into you. If you’re being encouraged, that will give you the energy you need to coach/mentor your team, which means they can encourage their own teams. Making sure everyone has a supporter means your company and team will be stronger and healthier.
Define your vision and stay true to it. Knowing where you’re headed will help you make decisions, it will keep your staff engaged, and it will help everyone push forward when there’s a clearly defined goal and vision.
Establish attainable goals to help you make your ambitions happen. You may be familiar with the commonly taught S.M.A.R.T. Methodology, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Related. By getting as specific as you can with goals that have a timeline and are assigned to specific people, you have a much higher chance of reaching those goals.
Once you’ve set your goals, now it’s time to get into the details by creating an action plan. This is where you will set deadlines, add timelines and create specific tasks for specific team members so you can make sure you get to your goals on time.
Constantly adjust. Make sure you’re progressing towards your goals. If not, then adjust what you’re doing, and keep moving forward.
For any business or idea to get off the ground, you need to pay attention to the 5 Ms: Market, Message, Method, Media and Metrics. Understand and engage your market; tell a great story; decide how and through what channels you will reach your market; and then measure your success.
Consider the “what-ifs” but don’t dwell on them. It’s good to look forward to what could go well, or to think about what might go wrong. But if you stay there too long, you could be always wishing for the good things of the future, or worrying about what might happen. Be prepared, but don’t stick around too long.
Go on a retreat. Take your team off-site for some perspective. This can help get you all on the same page and give everyone a refresh so your team can keep pushing toward your goals.
Build trust with each other, with your clients and with your vendors. This means being a team player by following through with what you promise (and being honest when you won’t be able to meet it). When you trust each other, thing will get done well and on time.
Celebrate successes (even the small ones). It’s easy to forget the things that have gone well in a business, because it’s the things that go wrong that scream the loudest. Don’t forget to step back and assess what you’re doing really well, and to celebrate those things. Everybody loves a party.