One of the questions I get asked most about strategy is how do you go from vision to execution.. So many of my clients struggle with this part, however with good planning this can become a mechanical exercise.
Yes you want that moonshot blockbuster vision, a strategy that will take your business to the next level, however when you are entering the planning and execution phase, the key principal here is breaking that vision down into sizeable chunks.
While you want to reach for the stars, there is no point in launching a rocket plane to take you straight there, you need to make a few stops along that journey.
And why would you do this?
- The strategy is a data driven process, so you are gathering market intelligence after you’ve commenced the execution, therefore your information is becoming more accurate
- You need to take some time out to ensure your vision is still relevant
- Too many things change with business
- While you are developing your strategy in the beginning, it’s just your current best estimate of where you want to be, you have to make some assumptions
- Data will need to be gathered along that journey to validate those assumptions – some will be correct, some may not
- Strategy is always an iterative process
- Your vision continually evolves, the more you learn the more accurate your journey becomes
One of the saddest things I see in small business is when business leaders agree a moonshot strategy or vision, invest heavily on a new product / piece of software only to realise half way down the journey, something has changed in the market place and they are already committed. I’m sure like many companies, you don’t have the capacity, either financial or resource, to make that mistake, so please don’t.
As when you break the strategy down to those sizeable chunks, you only plan a fraction of time ahead, a few months as opposed to a few years, and that gives you great flexibility in achieving your vision as now you have options!
The main question you need to ask here is..
Is your strategy the same vision as it was in the beginning?
And with that one question, you now have 3 options
- If the data is telling you that you are still on track, great, keep moving forward with your plan
- Be mindful of the execution and aim to make it more efficient
- Maybe you are on track however there have been some changes in the market place, you are tackling some of market pains but not all
- The strategy needs to be tweaked to improve market penetration
- The strategy is not relevant anymore
- While this could be seen as disappointing, remember you haven’t gone too far into your journey so you can pivot and reassess things
- Again this is all data driven, and taking a long term approach, you haven’t actually lost too much time
Roman wasn’t built in a day, and either will your business success, so remember to be patient and work with the data!