Three Steps to Building an Effective Strategy

May 21, 2015By Behind the Shelf Blog, Industry Intuition

By Dave Wendland

Many companies seem stuck when it comes to developing their go-to-market strategy. Often it’s the result of having too many chefs in the kitchen who don’t seem to agree on direction, because they fear the unknown, or are unwilling to budge from the status quo (a.k.a. “safety net”).

Sure there are countless books written on the topic of strategy development and there are online training courses, seminars, templates, theories, software applications, and mobile apps all proclaiming to provide the be-all and end-all solution to creating a winning strategy. But to be honest, I think it’s simpler than that. And I think it begins with three relatively straightforward steps.three relatively straightforward steps

Step One: What do you know today?

Think of this as a self-assessment of sorts. It’s an inventory of the core competencies within the business, brand, product, etc. You’re developing a profile of assets and strengths, recognizing your weaknesses and threats. It is imperative that this be an honest appraisal of your current situation.

Step Two: Where do you want to be tomorrow?

I love the expression attributed to conductor Les Brown, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” In other words it’s important to think big. Sure there has to be some reality and rationale for the direction you desire to go, but there is nothing wrong with reaching.

Step Three: How big is the gap?

Understanding the distance you will need to travel as you progress from your current situation to your desired new state is one of the most important considerations. Surely you will begin to see obstacles, shortcomings, competencies requiring enhancement, and resources that may need to be acquired. In any event, taking stock of these gaps will help you chart a course toward your desired goals.

Still feel the journey is a bit daunting? You’re definitely not alone. One way to overcome this fear is to engage an objective third party in the process. Someone who brings industry expertise, fresh thinking, and the ability to guide the conversation without the “yeah buts.” We call these Collaborative Strategy Sessions and have conducted many over the years. The most important thing in choosing a partner is to work with an organization that you trust; an ally that will deliver tough love when necessary and a team that can help with the heavy lifting.

Believe me, when a company begins the thought-process to break out and strategically expand its reach, it can take businesses to places never imagined. The time to start is now – before the future arrives.

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