Chinese general Sun Tzu said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Strategy can be defined as the science of military command, or the science of projecting campaigns and directing great military movements. Strategy can also be defined as the set of decisions made to best ensure achievement of the desired objectives, based on an assessment of your current situation and options in terms of risks and timing. Strategic objectives are the “what” you want to achieve by a certain time; tactics are the “how” to get there.
Here are some tips on how purpose driven leaders develop their strategies and how they fulfil them.
1. Face facts.
It is critical to face the facts in the present before developing a strategy for the future. Take stock of where you are.
2. Listen and learn.
Understand market needs through active listening. The greater your knowledge of the market, the greater your ability to develop an effective strategy to meet market needs. Listen to your team and develop your strategy with your executives. Innovative strategies come from diversity which your team can bring.
3. Know thyself
Know thy enemy and stick to what you’re best at. Know what you can and can’t do based on the resources that you have. Learn from your competitors and find your niche. What can you be the best at and what are you not best at?
4. Stay focused.
Ensure the strategy is aligned to the business purpose and core values, and stick to your core offering. A survey by Bain & Co indicated that the major reason why many businesses fail to deliver value to customers and shareholders is that they wander too far from their core.
5. Scenario plan.
Explore the options looking at worst case, middle case and best case scenarios. Do you have a cushion in place for the worst case? Analyse the benefits and drawbacks of each scenario and choose one which will deliver the best possible return on investment and is aligned to the business purpose and values.
6. Clarify the strategic vision.
What results will the strategy have and what will the implications be for the business in five to 10 years?
7. Get buy-in from your team.
It is critical that the leader gets full buy-in from the operational team for the strategy to be effectively implemented. Deal with any objections from the team and win them over with researched facts on why the strategy will work.
8. Break the strategic vision down.
Define specific and measurable objectives – three years, one year, six months.
9. Define tactics to achieve each objective.
Make sure your tactics are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
10. Create values driven quality management systems.
Do this for each area of the business to ensure the tactical plan is implemented. Make sure that your systems are clear and easy to minimise misunderstanding.
11. Find the right people to drive your systems.
It is critical that you have the right team who are aligned to your values and have the right skill sets to do their specific jobs.
12. Lead by example.
Ensure you deliver on your roles and responsibilities. Lead from the front and walk the talk.