There’s a fine line between “self-help” literature and “business success” literature. I’ve read a lot more of the business stuff than the self-help stuff, but I’ve read enough self-help to know that “visualizing” what you want to have happen is an important part of it.
This makes perfect sense, because if you have a clear idea of what you want, it’s more likely that you’ll get it.
If you know what you want your business to look like at the end of this year, at the end of the first quarter of 2020, and beyond, you’ve accomplished something important. That’s why creating a concise strategic plan starts with your Core Values, your Core Purpose…and your Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
Core Values define who you are. Core Purpose defines why you exist. And your BHAG is your self-help “visualization” of what you will become.
Transformation Through Projects
We’ve worked with over 8,000 businesses on their strategic execution, and so I think I can tell you with some authority that practically every entrepreneur and business leader has a hard time balancing “business as usual” with strategic transformation.
There’s two levels to this: the easy part and the hard part.
The easy part is where you map your strategy to your business-as-usual processes. This is what the ResultsBI platform is for, of course. But the concept is straightforward: when you know what your strategy is, you can find ways to measure every employee’s daily activity to make sure they are contributing to what really matters.
Simply focusing work on strategically significant activities has a huge effect on your culture and on your business performance. People prefer to know how their work contributes. It’s satisfying and empowering. When they understand how they fit into the big picture, they make better decisions. They make fewer mistakes. And they become true contributors to your success. You can measure this as ROI, which always goes up.
But what really matters is the intangible shift in culture, because that’s what enables you to do the hard part.
Defining Strategic Projects
The hard part is breaking down your strategic vision into projects, and then getting those projects done at the same time you’re executing business as usual.
It’s best to turn your attention to this after you have the easy part flowing. When your team understands your strategy, business as usual gets easier and more pleasant. Everyone is more comfortable with your leadership. Everyone has more confidence in you and in the business. They feel secure, they feel like they know what they’re doing, and they feel like you know what you’re doing. Your customers will feel this, of course, and this starts adding to your ROI as well.
These are the perfect conditions where you can start executing on your strategic projects. The best strategic projects address an emerging need in your market. Strategic projects are definitely not just a cool idea that occurred to you one day.
You can’t know what a Strategic Project is until you have thought through your Target Market Customer, your Brand Promise, your SWOT analysis and other critical components of your strategic plan. Strategic Projects arise from strategic thinking.
Executing Strategic Projects
That way, they fit into your employee’s and your customer’s understanding of who you are.
For example, here at ResultsBI, we provide strategic planning software and a management platform that maps everyone’s work to your strategy. If we suddenly decided that our next Strategic Project was to incorporate video games into our platform, we would destroy our business, because that makes no sense. On the other hand, if we decided that our BHAG Strategic Project was to incorporate artificial intelligence into our platform to aid our users in their decision making, everyone would get really excited about the idea.
When you have a spot-on Strategic Project, you can execute it along side your business-as-usual strategic execution. That’s because it will make sense to everyone on your team. In fact, they will help you figure out how to complete it within their existing processes. They won’t think in terms of “adding to their workload.” They will think in terms of “developing the business for future success.”
The cultural effect is profound. So is the long-term effect on your ROI. You can have it all. The first step is a concise strategic plan. Everything else follows from that: