All too often, business leaders fail to recognise the importance of implementing effective business strategies to keep companies relevant and successful. Plans are drawn up, presented at meetings, then quickly forgotten.
Unexecuted strategic planning is a not only a waste of time and money, but also a wasted opportunity. Rather than following a carefully plotted course step-by-step, companies often employ pet projects and whimsical initiatives, pulling the company in multiple directions, rather than creating cohesion and keeping the business moving forward as one.
Strategists and business leaders must work together to ensure strategic planning remains relevant. This article explores five key aspects of strategic planning that are integral to corporate success.
Company culture is a major component in the success of any venture. A company culture that values action and promotes transparency, encouraging communication and empowering employees, not only inspires loyalty, but also creativeness, ingenuity and innovation. Company culture is the organisation’s promise to its employees, enabling them to articulate ideas and identify areas of concern with regard to corporate strategy.
As the founder of FDH Financial Holdings, Dr Thomson Mpinganjira will be well aware that strategic planning is about much more than simply compiling a ‘shopping list’ of unconnected objectives. Effective corporate strategy involves identifying key objectives and setting up a road map of actions necessary to achieve them. The strategic plan should not only articulate a goal and vision but delineate the multiple steps required to get there, setting priorities and investments that move in the same direction, creating synergy and cohesion.
Effective Use of Data
With a plethora of analysis tools available today to analyse and mine big data, strategists face significant challenges as well as opportunities. Separating valuable information from what is just noise can be an arduous task. Nevertheless, when data analysis is implemented effectively, it enables management to quantify decisions and measure results, helping everyone understand what is important and keeping plans relevant and measurable. Effective strategic planning involves identifying key data points to serve as indicators of success.
Improving Communication and Cohesion
Without clear communication, it is impossible for strategic plans to be implemented effectively. Strategies must be presented, explained and shared adequately at every level of the company. From the board to front line employees, everyone must know their role. A corporate strategy can only come into force when every invested party understands how their actions align with that strategy. Many companies fail to appreciate the importance of clear, concise communication in terms of helping employees to understand and implement corporate strategy.
Focusing on the Customer Experience
Companies must place the customer at the heart of their corporate strategy. A customer-centric organisation does much more than merely offering good customer service. Take for example Amazon, a leading brand that has based its entire business culture on customer needs.
A recent poll by Econsultancy revealed that 58% of participants placed higher emphasis on customer centricity, rating it far more highly than being agile, innovative, collaborative, and data-driven.
Effective strategic planning is integral to the success of any organisation, helping it to achieve both short- and long-term goals. With the booms and busts of the past decade, it is more important than ever for companies to devise and execute their strategies carefully.