What is corporate strategy? By definition, corporate strategy is “the overall scope and direction of a corporation and the way in which its various business operations work together to achieve particular goals” (BusinessDictionary.com).
When I hear definitions like this, I think, “What does that mean to me?” To me, corporate strategy is the creation of the roadmap necessary to get a company to a desired outcome. Understanding where the company is, where you want it to be and how it’s going to get there is essential in creating a proactive strategy that leads to growth.
Strategy is proactive in that companies must be constantly assessing their current strategy, company values and current trends to know the validity of their plan. The risk of not evaluating, changing and improving can be significant – your competition is almost certainly changing and moving ahead, and you are likely to be left behind in terms of efficiency, reputation and financial success if you do not learn lessons and appreciate what factors may influence your likely success in delivering your business goals.
Strategy should be continuously updated and running in the background as you determine trends and patterns while your business develops. The day-to-day activities will inform the strategy but treating strategy as a reactive function will mean that you fail to move forward your vision of what the business could become. If you are spending all your time taking reactive measures, then it’s time to get rid of your strategy and start again.
Once we have determined where we are going and how we are getting there, we need to ask ourselves, “Do our daily actions demonstrate that we understand and have internalized the road map to move toward our goal as efficiently as possible?” In order to ensure that everyone is moving toward the same goal, there has to be effective communication, feedback and engagement. When communication breaks down, from either direction, companies fail to gain the buy-in needed to engage their employees.
Companies who want employees to “do as they are instructed” or employees who come to work strictly for “a paycheck” can hold a strategy back by simply encouraging the behavior of covering the basics and nothing more. As our culture becomes more and more collaborative, this engagement becomes imperative.
For companies to be successfully moving forward, they must tap into the collective intelligence inherent in their employee base. So not only is it important that leadership’s actions reflect the company strategy, all employees must be acting in accordance as well. Together, it moves the strategy forward in a much more efficient manner.
So what is your “endgame” and what are you doing to move toward that goal? Let us know your thoughts!