In my Daily Paradox of 01Jan18 I talked about a strategy for the coming year. A broad brush approach to how we should start thinking for the future of our businesses and the survival of our species. Actually forming a strategy needs attention to more than Purpose but it cannot start until the purpose of the organisation is established and credible. Don’t rely on your board to endorse it. They have too much at stake to argue. Get an outside view to hear the truth.

After purpose the most compelling determinant of your strategy is Competition – current and potential. Companies spend far too little time on it. It is irritating, makes people defensive and opens doors in the business many would prefer to remain closed. In other words it is hard work. A thorough examination of competing offerings is a vital, regular checkpoint. Omit it at your peril.

Any publicly funded business must grow or die. Privately financed businesses also need a strategy but they can plan to remain small. The obligations of outside finance are formidable today. For those who want to become big there is no other option. *For the growing army of small, personal businesses a good life can also be obtained by having control over it. You are your own best driver. That is not to ignore risks and relentless work of being small, merely to say it has its advantages.

After competitors, strategy, especially for a bigger company, is next driven by Resource. Under-resourced companies, especially under-resourced development units, have the highest failure rate of all businesses. We overload everything in life, including our own lives. Companies overload their and their shareholders expectations stupidly. If you want to con someone out of money promise him the earth. Someone will buy it. But if you want to conduct a sensible, decent business manage your own – and all your customers and employees – expectations.

While studying your resources remember to review your Suppliers. They are a vital part of your business. They are usually under-rated as the source of improvements and new ideas. Don’t expect your suppliers to keep your interests foremost unless you do the same for them too. Pay them promptly. It will reward you more than you can imagine.

An organization’s Assets are basically its people. How often we hear that phrase and how seldom does the management behave as though they believed it. Because of your colleagues you have a range of skills and abilities. How you use those will determine your future. This needs a lot of attention but it must be relevant not procedural. Most Human Resource Reviews are less than useful. More of that later. The Assets of a business extend beyond people. They require a careful scrutiny to see if they are still as valuable as they were and if they need some updating to survive.

Only when you have done these things should you start to form your strategy and create Targets. Now you are able to look at what you do under a number of headings. These I will give you in my next Daily Paradox. Until then please remember the Six Stages of Forming Your Strategy:

Purpose, Competition, Resources, Suppliers, Assets, Targets

Use them all well and your business will flourish.

*If you want to learn how to become a GIG, look at the prospectus of our programme MMAG (Make Me A Gig). Ten 90-minute Sessions with some work in between get quickly to the heart of the matter. That’s fifteen hours of Sessions at your own time and pace.

Email [email protected] for information.

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