I’ve been working as a consultant for few companies since I went back to Bulgaria and the overall lack of vision for the future has been bothering me a lot. Those businesses have not considered creating a strategy for the development of their companies and instead act in a perpetual form of confusion and chaos beyond necessity.
Which in turn provided me with the opportunity to talk to some of them about my key principles to consider when developing a strategy for the company:
- Understanding – to create a purposeful strategy you first need to understand the purpose of the organization, the vision for the future if you will as well.
- Inclusion – you need to include people from every part of the organization, who can share valuable insights about the company and its competitive advantage.
The employees are the power for the future of the organization and with their involvement during the creation period of the strategy, you secure a necessary buy-in from them early on. Thus securing better chances for the successful implementation of the strategy. Being involved initially provides a push for employees to be more engaged with the future of the organization, increase their feeling of purpose is a lot more important than just pushing the strategy through a top-down approach.
- Information distribution – focus on distribution of information, rather than containing it. Consider developing knowledge bases, remove knowledge silos through platforms and user participation.
Here, people can consider the steps to coach and develop talent – create a plan to further improve the professional qualification and career path of employees.
- Value – thinking about cost is important, but even more crucial is aiming for value creation.
- Online presence – the company’s online presence is not optional anymore, it is necessary – whether only with a website or with social media presence in addition to a website – does not matter. It is important to be accessible online, to provide place where people can find more about your company, products/services. keep a communication channel open with stakeholders through online services is crucial for business.
- Cooperation – think about cooperation rather than pure competition both in-house between departments and outside the organization. Consider collaborating with various stakeholders to achieve sustainable business practice.
- Focus – create several clear goals (do not go everywhere, keep focus in several key areas of expertise). Furthermore, you need to focus on measurable objectives through which to achieve those goals.
If the goals are not clearly defined and the vision is not set, employees will have harder time to focus and find the right path to succeed in the tasks of the company. The goals and vision help set the course of the company.
- Create clear steps to evaluate employees, based on the well established goals and the measurable objectives.
These are some key principles I’ve been thinking about. I would like to add one more – concentrate on data – Marissa Mayer in 2008 interview said that Data is Apolitical – and I couldn’t agree more. She mentions that key decisions in Google are being made because things are tested and measured and the final decision relies on the data and not a personal preference. But not every company is data driven, most are not and to change that, Data initiatives should come from the top – owners/CEO should require the presentation of data sets and not only sound bytes like: “most people do not agree/most people do not like”. If the owner requires data – it will be adopted as a corporate culture, thus working really nice with points six and seven from my list of principles.
So far, when I’ve been talking about data – people love the concept, but are not particularly certain how to measure and interpret it. And this is only part of the problem in some Bulgarian companies. Most of them just swing it and believe they do not need a strategy – chaos works fine.