Strategy Made Practical

Back in June a friend of mine Jeremy Miller at Sticky Branding commented in his blog that “When you get into strategy and planning you can easily get caught up in the MBA speak.” While I might have phrased it differently (probably because I have an MBA) he has a good point.

All of the business owners we talk to have a strategy. Some may not refer to it using the word “strategy”. But they can all answer 3 questions:
1. Why did you start the company?
2. What do you want to get out of it in 3 years?
3. How are you going to get there?

The answer to the first tells us what their vision and mission statements are. Their response to the second question reveals their goals and the answer to the third is their strategy.

Some colleagues argue that we’re over-simplifying. But we always get a response to those questions, while we’ve proved we may not if we say “Tell me your vision for the company”. If the answers we get are not complete we simply ask follow on or clarifying questions.

By asking the questions in a way that they can be easily answered we avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable if they’re not familiar with “technical” terms. And the responses are generally phrased in practical, pragmatic language.

Returning to a sports analogy for a moment, developing and executing strategy is like playing your favorite sport. We all have some level of skill at it but there are times when we need, or want, to improve those skills.

That’s when we get some help from a professional, e.g. a personal trainer. We usually get the best results when their input is in language we understand and is practical.

Imagine a personal trainer saying something like “The rectus abdominals and obliques can be strengthened using a vehicle with wheels which is moved by pushing pedals with the feet while the internal and external obliques can be flattened and the waist can be reduced.”

When they could just as easily have said “Cycling can strengthen your stomach muscles and trim your waist.”

We believe that to get the best results – steady growth and increasing company value – strategy has to be made practical. That’s one of the reasons we started the business.

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Tags: business owners, company, executing strategy, goals, growth, Jim Stewart, mission, path, Planning, profit, ProfitPATH, strategy, vision

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