Is Your Business Capable?

How do you make your businesses capable of achieving all that it can achieve.

Well, it all starts with having the right strategy.

Over the years what I have found is that most businesses like to make plans.   They spend time thinking about what they are going to do and how to move the business forwards.

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However, once it arrives at the actual execution of the plans and making the strategy work, the first thing they do is to ignore their strategy! That’s crazy!  I mean, why would you spend all that time and effort working out the plan, and then totally ignore it when it comes to implementation?

A strategy should be a living document.  As your business evolves, as you find out more information, as you execute your plans, the strategy develops further as you learn and evolve more. Your strategy should change with you, to the point where it becomes something that’s representative of what you’re doing and how you can move your business forward.

How do you create your strategy or take your present strategy and make something better out of it?

Well I believe in taking a very structured approach to this process. Once you’ve got your basic strategy defined,  you can then develop your fundamental principles.  Moreover, those principals – that are the building blocks of the strategy – should also help provide the required creativity and solutions to achieve the end goal and produce things.

In building this interrelationship between strategy and principles, you will, in effect, be working through everything involved in creating your thing. By producing a strategy document you may well have thought about, and allowed for an endless number of opportunities, possibility’s and many ideas.

However, in doing so, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

A good analogy might be this.  Have you ever been to a supermarket and try to buy jam?  Just how many different jars of jam are there? You want to buy jam, but you’ve got strawberry jam, blackberry jam, apricot jam and a myriad of other flavours.  And it doesnt stop there.  You have jam with bits, jam without bits! There’s just so much choice. In the end – if there is too much choice, you might end up with 10 jars of jam – or none – because it is too hard to make a decision!

So, by building a set of well-formed and informed principles that have come off the back of your strategy, you’re able also to help give the other people involved much needed supporting guidance. Because they will know what’s important to you – what kind of jam you do like!  This will help you to be able to make sure things happen, without doing all the work yourself.

So, once you get these basic principles built, what next?

Well, we’ve already mentioned the fact that these principals will inform some of the constraints. They will also help us to develop policies and standards. Also, from these, it further develops the much-needed guidelines for those people around you. With these guidelines and information, they’re going to do their work better and with consistency.

So, for instance, if you’re looking at a requirement for branding, you will create a standard associated with that branding — probably some kind of brand colours. If everyone in your organisation started using different colours, that would give a mixed message, the wrong message and probably not the message that you initially intended when you picked the colours.

However, where you have the whole of your team using your brand colours, keeping on message, providing a unified front to your clients. Moreover, those principles are cementing your policies and your standards. This same principle applies into all areas of your business.

So far, we’ve got the policies and the standards.  You’ve also got your principles and your strategy defined so what do you need now? Well, the next key thing is how do you develop the procedures that go with all this?

Remember – these things exist whether you document them or not.  Just because something hasn’t been documented somewhere doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been thought about.  People are already following procedures. The truth is there are many things that happen in a business that aren’t written down. However, they still get completed on day to day basis.  By having the procedures written down things happen less by chance and more likely correctly and on time.

Once you have procedures in place you can now look at training.

To me, training makes so much sense but, how many organisations do you come across where training is an afterthought?  In most cases it’s the first thing to go if budgets become tight. However, wouldn’t you agree that if people know what they’re doing, and how to do it then everything will be done quicker and easier, and to the right standard? Training should be built into the heart and soul of every business, fundamentally driven throughout every stage of your strategy.

These principals also embrace the tools of the business.

Many people I know go straight to technology for the solution; like technology’s going to save the world! Technology is just a tool.  It’s just like a hammer. A hammer is excellent at hammering nails but not necessarily useful for fitting a glass window pane.  So ultimately you need to look ask which tools are needed.  How are you going to be using these tools? Also, how’s all of this going to work for your business?

This is the capability development approach, being able to look at how you can exercise your strategy to create the results you desire.

So, are you going to go away and work out your strategy to make your business capable of getting the results you want? Alternatively, are you going to be one of those people who write the strategy and, then ignores it and wonders why they are not getting results they needed?