Peter Drucker, known as the “creator and inventor of modern management” – Tom Peters and “the greatest management thinker of the last century” – Jack Welch, provides guidance and insight to business management and the development of a business strategy to focus your business on the future, create competitive differentiation and improve the economic performance of your business. We will draw upon Drucker’s (and others) management guidance to build out your Business Strategy.
A business strategy ensures focus across the entire organization. Employees want to know they are working towards larger goals and how their actions contribute to these goals, customers want to know what you stand for and where you are taking your business to determine if you are a strong and dependable long-term partner, partners want to know where they fit in to your ecosystem, and the overall organization needs to be working together towards common goals to optimize the business.
More than 80 percent of the 300 small business owners surveyed in the recent 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey said that they don’t keep track of their business goals, and 77 percent have yet to achieve their vision for their company. – Inc.
Business Strategy Benefits
- Provides the opportunity to look to the future of the business as opposed to the current day-to-day running of the business or a historical performance review of the business. In general, we do not spend enough time thinking about the future of the business as we are mired down in the day-to-day activities. This process will ensure you take the time to do that.
- Aligns the organization around the activities that are important to the business.
- Communicates to all stakeholders where the business is going, what the focus is and where resources will be allocated.
- Provides a framework for securing funding and approval for initiatives that support the business strategy.
- Provides a framework for detailed business planning across all business units and departments in the organization.
- Facilitates the required changes in the organization.
The Business Strategy is NOT:
- An Operational Plan. All stakeholders should be able to see how their day-to-day activities help accomplish the goals outlined in the strategy, but the strategy does not define these day-to-day activities.
- A Business Plan, but it does provide input to the Business Plan.
You are probably saying, “Why do I have to go through this Business Strategy process? I am really just trying to get my IT projects justified and approved. “ All IT projects and initiatives should tie directly and support the attainment of the company goals and completion of strategic initiatives. If your project does not support the company goals, you will find it very difficult to get your project justified. So…even if you don’t complete this business strategy process, or if you are in IT and not responsible for the business strategy; you must understand the strategy enough to show how your project will support the attainment of the company goals. If you do not have a Business Strategy or it is just not down on paper, the steps here are fairly straight-forward and facilitate the conversation required to capture the essence of the business mission, vision and goals and then derive the key applications and business processes that must be supported by IT.
So…if you are in IT…why do you need this? Well…you need it to explain the importance of your projects and how they will help make the business successful. Then you will be able to justify your projects.