By Charles Alvarez , Contributor, the Price of Business Show. * Sponsored
To get from Point A to Point B, there are many different routes you can follow. Your choice of an appropriate strategy will largely determine whether or not you succeed or fail. The choice of the correct strategy is therefore vitally important.
Begin by asking this question: “What are all the different ways that we can accomplish this goal?” Remember, a goal not yet achieved is merely a problem not yet solved. Approach the attainment of a goal or an objective as you would seek the solution to a problem.
Beware of any goal or objective for which there is only one possible strategy. Beware of any problem for which there is only one solution. Beware of any question for which there is only one answer. Continue asking the question, “What else could be the answer?” Before you finalize a strategy, you should have a variety of potential strategies available to you. This requires the hard work of thinking and is the key responsibility of the leader and the decision-maker.
Once you have developed a series of possible strategies or approaches to achieving your goal or solving your problem,you should evaluate each of these options based on the following factors:
1. What are your capabilities? Just because you want to do something does not mean that you are capable of doing it. Desire and enthusiasm are wonderful qualities, but they do not translate into effective results unless they are accompanied by core competencies and capabilities.
In Jim Collins’s 2001 book From Good to Great, he makes the key point that the great companies are those that put the right people in place, in the key positions, before they make any final decisions about goals, objectives, and strategy. Do you have the people you need? Can you get them? The most effective fighting forces have the best trained and most aggressive officers at all levels.
2. Do you have the resources, both internal and external, to carry out a particular strategy? General Bernard Law Montgomery, known as “Martini Montgomery,” was obsessive about having far greater supplies of weapons, armament, and materiel than he would need before launching a major attack against the enemy. This was the key to his victory at El Alamein over Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in 1942. Do you have the necessary financial resources? Do you have the necessary contacts and alliances in the marketplace? Do you have the necessary knowledge, skill, and experience to carry out a particular strategy? If not, can you acquire them? If you cannot get them, what would be an alternate strategy that is more consistent with the resources that you have available? These are key questions that you must ask and answer before you commit to a particular course of action.
3. What is the situation in the marketplace today? Are sales for your product or service strong or weak? Are salesgrowing or declining? Are the trends in the market moving in your favor and boosting your sales and profitability, or are the trends moving against you? A good leader is very sensitive to the nuances of the environment and is constantly testing his assumptions about the state of business as it actually exists today.
4. Who is your competition, and how are they likely to react to any strategy of yours? In Michael Porter’s book Competitive Advantage, he emphasizes the importance of considering the responses of your competitors to any action you take in the market. There is a military axiom: “No strategy ever survives first contact with the enemy.” You must carefully plan every possible detail of your strategy and logistics. But you must be prepared to modify your strategy quickly in response to unexpected actions taken by your competitors to defend their markets or to seize yours.
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