Expert opinion: How to build a sustainable strategy based on an inspiring vision
It is important to have a clear vision, but that’s only the start of creating a really solid strategy.
The question that your employees are likely to ask is: “That all sounds really exciting, but how are we going to achieve it?”
It’s vital to build your strategy from the ground up so that each stage is completely aligned and supports the previous stage.
To make your vision more concrete you should next focus on what we call the Critical Success Factors (CSF’s).
These highlight, in simple terms, the most important areas of your business that you must focus on each and every day.
They are broken down into two separate areas, the CSF itself and the strategic objective that supports it.
Some of the CSF’s are fairly obvious and are such areas as Sales, Marketing or Finance, which are common to most businesses.
But you must also identify those that are specific to either your particular sector or areas that you have chosen to focus on to differentiate yourself. Some examples of my own CSF’s are Quality of Service, Core Values, Strategic Planning and Personal Development.
You should define no more than about a dozen of these as too many will create a lack of focus and increase the likelihood of you not achieving them.
As with all of these processes, it’s vital that as many people as possible are involved in determining what you’re CSF’s are so that they are fully behind the implementation of them.
The second step is to link them to strategic objectives which are essentially top-level business goals that must be carried out to achieve the vision.
As before with the CSF’s, we are building up the level of detail and ensuring that everything remains aligned with the vision. There are many common mistakes that businesses make when setting goals and I have listed a small sample below:
1. The goals are vague, unspecific and difficult for others to visualise.
2. Too many goals are set, resulting in a lack of focus.
3. The goals are not aligned to the overall strategy of the business.
You must be really careful not to fall into any of these traps as you may find that your goals simply create confusion or focus people on activities that do not support the vision.
To give you a flavour of what a completed Critical Success Factor looks like, here are a couple of mine:
Quality of service
To ensure that every contact the client has with our organisation is of the highest quality and increases the possibility of either repeat business or referrals.
To deliver the brand experience in an inspirational way to all who come into contact with it.
Once your CSF’s have been created it enables the individuals responsible for each of them to create more defined objectives for both their teams and the individuals within the teams.
Hopefully you can see that by building it up step-by-step, in a structured way, we are ensuring that our strategy is always aligned to operational performance.
If you’d like to learn more about how to create a powerful, yet simple strategy that links vision to employee performance, either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01793 915045 for a chat.