New year, new directions – defining your business strategy

Some years ago I was asked by the Board of Directors of an SME to help them to more effectively deliver their strategy. I hope it doesn’t take a trained consultant to work out that my first question was “What’s your strategy?”

To a man (they were all men) they pointed to the Finance Director and said “Ask him!”

The FD blushed a deep scarlet, pondered and then had a lightbulb moment.

“Reduce our cost base by 3% and double our margins over the next, erm… three years.”

His colleagues applauded.

I repeated that I had asked them for their strategy, not their financial targets.

Over the years, I’ve found that the same confusion exists pretty much everywhere. Strategy is sexy stuff, talked about constantly in Boardrooms and yet little understood.

Without a clear strategy, a business has no direction. Without direction, everyone becomes task focused and silo-based. It becomes fairly easy to tell the organisations with no strategy. Just go to a board meeting. Typically, as one person gives their monthly report, the others are hastily scribbling theirs. There is little point in listening to the person speaking, because nothing they say has any direct bearing on your own functional area. 80% and more of the meeting looks backwards instead of forwards. If you have no direction, discussion of the future has no framework or structure.

So, why not start the new year by reviewing your strategy?

We can help you with our 1-day Strategy Review or 2-day Strategy Programme.

Call me on +44(0)161 929 4145 or email David Cotton.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Meanwhile, happy new year!

David Cotton is an independent trainer,management consultant, facilitator and speaker with vast international experience.

About davidcottonuk
I'm an international trainer, speaker and facilitator. I've worked in 4 continents and 40 countries, delivering all aspects of leadership, management and behavioural skills training to local and national government and nearly every industry sector. I've written a dozen books, and scores of journal articles.

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