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Strategizing Before Acting

How much thinking and discussion has taken place within your business before you set a course of action? Maybe the real question is, “have you thought about where you want to be in three years from now or for that matter, this time next year and how you will achieve those goals?”

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Activities need direction. People need direction. Allowing everyone to do what they please may bring a smile to their face temporarily but is almost certain to bring a frown to your face once you take off your blinders to find a dysfunctional, siloed organization. Employees will create their own agendas and strategies unless given a strategy for how they fit overall with the other employees/departments, what are the main objectives moving forward and how can they be involved, and lastly, a strategy with delineated expected outcomes.

Simply stated; business works more efficient with a set direction that is realized by the full team. A realized direction is a discussed and implemented business plan and strategy. A business strategy includes your senior management team, a holistic vision for the future and expected outcomes but most importantly, it should include action plans for achievement. Simply creating a vision without identifying how you will achieve that vision is like deciding you are hungry and simply getting in your car and starting to drive. You will eventually find a restaurant to stop at but it might be 45 minutes later and it turns out all you needed were some hamburger buns for the burgers you put on the grill.

A sound Business Strategy has Core Strategies that identify the main needs for your organization followed up by Operational Strategies supporting your Core Strategies. Core Strategies are the responsibility of all but Operational Strategies should be assigned to individuals. Once assigned to individuals, expectations can be set and projected outputs identified. Accountability can then be leveraged ensuring timelines are identified and activities put in motion. As important as it is to identify WHAT you are doing and WHO is doing it, it’s just important to identify WHY it’s important to your organization and what a WIN looks like. Identifying what a “win” looks like helps the team know when it’s “done” allowing for a sense of accomplishment and reduces miscommunication and helps continuing and maintaining direction. Activities should always be linked to Strategies meaning spending more time than necessary once something is “won” is a waste of resources and can strain other activities.  

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With 2018 still fresh in the books, now is the time to sit down (if you have not already) to finalize your Strategies. Have you gathered your Team ensuring all know what the Vision is for the future? Are they on board with helping to create Solutions for success? Have activities been identified?

I was at a facility late last year and asked the simple question, “What are your strategies for 2018?” His answer, “it’s to grow and bring in more revenue!” I then asked HOW, and the room got really quiet until he said we just need to continue to “do what we are doing … I guess and hope that we get lucky”. I believe Albert Einstein said it best, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. If it has not worked in the past … why do you think it will work in the future?

 Strategy sessions can be anywhere from 4 hours to a full week depending on the size of the team, organization, and needs. Advantage Kentucky Alliance has helped dozens of companies to solidify their Strategies for 2018 and beyond. Regardless of whether or not you have your Core Strategies or need help with your Operational Strategies (i.e., reducing inventory, increasing margins, identify new markets, leveraging employees, develop leadership, etc.), AKA can help! A developed Business Strategy empowers and aligns your workforce, reduces wasted activities, and creates proactive productive growth … not from being “lucky” but from being organized and structured in your activities!

To start the ball rolling for your company, you will want to inquire about AKA’s strategic planning resources, or any of our Leadership Development Services, Growth Programs, Continuous Improvement Programs, ISO Quality Programs, etc.   Contact Kurt Felten, our marketing specialist, and have him set up a time for you to meet with one of our experts.  Kurt can be reached at (606) 620-0076 or via email at kurt.felten@wku.edu. You can also see our AKA website for more information.  Just go to  www.AdvantageKY.org.

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