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Strategic Assessment – Improving your chances for success

 

All too frequently business plans are based on last year’s results plus a percentage applied to revenue and costs. There may be some revisions here and there where things are known with reasonable certainty and in other areas guesses are made. If the plan shows growth and a return on the bottom line this becomes the “target”.This “plan” becomes the measure by which you judge your success in the coming year.

  

Is your plan a gamble?

A gamble it is we would say. It is nothing more than a set of numbers that are largely an extrapolation of the past.

What should a plan consist of?

A plan ought to describe what actions you will take. The numbers will then describe the consequences of those actions. The combination of the two (actions and numbers) are what constitute a meaningful plan.

 
 

But what actions should be taken? This is where a strategic assessment of your business will help provide a platform for developing detailed action plans. The most successful companies of all sizes are those that link actions and plans to well thought through strategies. Those companies that lag behind and those which fail are those that leave the strategic element to the fortunes of good luck and default. Unfortunately the default situation does not always deal a good hand and they suffer the consequences.

 

Strategic Assessment – first step to getting a better hand

Strategy is not just in the domain of large companies. Strategy is accessible to any size organisation. If placed at the centre of your planning process it can reveal insights that were previously unexplored and never considered. Practical application of leading edge techniques can quickly uncover new perspectives on your business and your market within which you operate. Options and alternatives can be generated to deal with situations. Checks are made to ensure consistency with your resources and capabilities. Choices and actions are then made which drive your business. This drive for action is what moves you closer to success.

Having a core strategy is central to success

 

  
 

A strategic assessment is an initial view on your organisations approach to strategy formulation and the strength of your business plan. We will highlight weakness and point the way to where further opportunity might exist.

We make a distinction between Strategy development and strategy implementation. We do not believe that strategy can be developed and then exist in a vacuum. It is essential to ensure that strategy is successfully implemented. Strategy without execution is simply daydreaming. Indeed, research has shown that up to 70% of organisations fail to implement strategy. Research also shows that those who do develop and execute strategy are those that achieve a competitive edge and are generally more successful. We  make the distinction because there is difference in process (development versus implementation).

Strategy development

 

Knowledge applied in various ways can reveal extremely insightful and useful views on your organisation, its products and services. How are you positioned against your competition in your chosen market? Does your product or service offering meet the needs of your customers better than the competition or as you aspire to? Even if you have performed a SWOT does this only get as far as compiling lists of what they are? Have you considered your organisational structure and some of the fundamental drivers required to meet objectives? Do you have all the resources and capabilities needed and aligned with your goals?

Asking the basic questions and even generating some answers does not constitute the basis for successful strategy. Using an appropriate framework that assembles the answers and the best knowledge you have in such a way as to generate options and strategies to various issues is what we can help you with. The whole exercise which can be tailored to your needs is designed to be sufficiently comprehensive to the extent that you will have developed a strategy that results in initiatives which are feasible, acceptable, sustainable and timely. Highlighting where you need focus provides the real driver toward achieving an edge and success.

Using leading edge techniques combined with our extensive experience we will:

  • Clarify your strategy and maximise its impact
  • Provide insight as to where opportunities might exist and show how they might be realised
 

Strategy implementation 

 

Stephen Berry in his book “Strategies of the Serengeti” tells a story that is so pertinent that it is worthy of a brief resume. It tells the story of a hippopotamus who falls in love with a very beautiful butterfly. Worried about how the relationship can progress the Hippo went to seek advice from the very wise old lion. The Lion thought long and hard and finally advised the Hippo that he should become a butterfly. “But how do I do that?” responds the Hippo. “Don’t ask me”, replied the lion, “I’m a strategist; that is a question of implementation”. The point is that implementation is what finally counts. Care has to be taken to ensure that strategy can be communicated and embraced by all in your organisation. Key performance Indicators (KPI’s) are the norm to measure attainment of objectives. Yet this can be a hornet’s nest if not designed carefully. Strategy needs to permeate and influence process and actions. Inappropriate KPI’s can lead to action being directed in a sub optimal way. Culture cannot be ignored either in its influence.

Altogether, implementation is the real trick that is required to ensure that strategy is realised but it can be fraught with difficulty. Again this is an area that we have experience of and can provide you with help and support.