Is Your Strategy Working? Four Approaches To Improve Your Strategy
Always begin with strategy in your business. Without any kind of strategic plan in place, I’ve noticed companies and clients get stuck, don’t grow and get lost in the chaos.
Imagine driving cross-country without a working GPS or a basic map. A strategy is your real-time compass. With a solid strategy, you can locate your true north. Without it, well, you’re just hoping for the best.
There are a few innovative approaches to leadership that can help business leaders out. Let’s explore a few of them so you have some tangibles to weave into your strategy.
When it comes to successful collaboration, business leaders should be thinking about understanding the story, identity and mission of their collaborator. Also, pay attention to the thought process that comes with each working session. Collaborators can get stuck when the desired outcomes aren’t clear, so setting those goals clearly and unapologetically can take some finesse. I’m sometimes called into a strategy session when it starts to derail, and I’ve found that getting back to a successful collaboration means each person or team at the table understands the outcomes being sought.
A tip on aligning goals is to establish clarity on what you are seeking. At times, I’ve had to back collaborators up because the story and identity of a team were murky. Once you’ve sorted out the story and what people are seeking as an outcome, clarity emerges and the collaboration can continue. It may seem like an obvious place to get stuck, but I see it over and over when companies are unclear about their mission and what they want to achieve.
I also suggest considering new ways to collaborate, such as the approach that Harvard professor Heidi K. Gardner and senior executive Ivan A. Matviak introduce in their book Smarter Collaboration: A New Approach to Breaking Down Barriers and Transforming Work. Collaborating smarter can help leaders with revenues, relationships and more.
Measure your initiatives.
I always appreciate a way to measure new initiatives. By measuring innovation, your team can decide if your effort was worth the hype or if you jumped on the latest trend train.
A couple of tips I can offer come from a recent session with companies wanting to expand. Before the teams could measure their new initiatives, they had to get clarity on where they had been, what they wanted to change and their desired outcome. In doing so, they could set new outcomes to target, and in this process of transformation, the clients could see their journey.
My biggest tip is to do this legwork before you even begin the new initiative. Before beginning, ask these questions: Do we know our goal? Is our strategy clear or chaotic? How do our story and identity translate effectively? Where are we adding to any confusion? The,n at the kick-off, set the outcomes for the initiative.
I also appreciate the approach Deloitte’s Tim Bottke describes in his book Digital Transformation Payday: Navigate the Hype, Lower the Risks, Increase Return on Investments. He uses compelling research to uncover the real financial payback of digital transformation, which can include failure, pain and considerable investment.
Improve your focus.
Infuse your workplace with neuroscience, and explore ways to improve the focus and concentration of your team. Be curious, and don’t discount how unexpected methods could impact your team’s strategy and well-being. For example, Andrew Huberman, professor of neurobiology at Stanford University and host of the Huberman Lab podcast, introduces listeners in his 88th episode to a “focus toolkit” to help improve concentration.
A tip I’ve found works well for improving focus is an early dose of sunlight. Prior to starting work, and before booting up that laptop, head outdoors. It doesn’t have to be long, but in my experience, the fresh air blast, combined with the waking sunlight, can kick you into gear, with the benefits paying off later in the day.
Another tip to improve focus is to get rid of the long list of tasks and instead plug short sessions into your calendar. Then, you don’t have to think about tackling the task or the meeting; you simply do it. Even if you don’t feel like completing the task, commit to yourself ahead of time and take action. Setting shorter calendar intervals, rather than a long list to-do list, and then following the plan can make you feel like you have your own back.
Often leaders want to target growth goals, so approaches focused on the brain can be helpful. For example, consider the optimum times to use enhanced goal visualization techniques and ways to use celebration and rewards to improve the likelihood of outcome achievement.
Huberman also provides clarity on other approaches the business world can employ. For example, he has explored goal pursuit and setting—in other words, he gets how the brain sets and achieves outcomes. In fact, he points to nine tools anyone can apply toward goals.
I also help clients with mind mastery and clarity by setting outcomes. We work backward from the desired outcomes and dissect the thought process. I like to use a model I developed called the S2R2 model (the situation, the story, the reactions and the results), which begins with identifying the situation the client is finding most difficult. Move into considering the story you’ve created around the situation. How did you react and cause a result? Then create a more deliberate S2R2 model to achieve the outcome you want.