What does it take to transform your company into a high performing business?
Setting out a clear business strategy based on marketing planning – where you should compete in order to gain (and sustain) competitive advantage – was one of five actions in the previous Spotlight on Leaders that I suggested to improve productivity.
In order to formulate a strategy that will deliver significant and lasting impacts, leaders first must understand where sales and profits come from, segment their market, build strategies for the segments they choose to compete in, then align their operations to deliver the value that customers seek. Effective leaders do this consistently over a period of time.
When we first begin to work with a business, most leaders struggle to describe their markets, how those markets work, what position their business has in the market compared to that of their competitors and what market segments are available. If they cannot do that, how can they create competitive advantage and generate superior profits over the long term?
Finding your focus is crucial but it’s not an end in itself. What requires real concentration is the relentless follow through and even the most accomplished business strategists can’t take on that role alone.
Creating a strong team around you and equipping them to lead their departments towards a simply articulated vision, through a clear business strategy, is vital.
The leadership team needs to continuously switch focus between the big picture and the close detail, the helicopter and the microscope. It’s important to get the details right; to understand what’s happening on the factory floor or customer service desk, what’s impacting productivity or influencing the order book.
But spend too long at the microscope and when you lift your head your goals could be further out of sight; you risk strategic drift. It takes practice to become comfortable switching to and fro, but this is exactly what we see so many leaders achieving on our programmes.
This article was first published in Cotswold Life Business Life in July 2018.