In the world of business there is no such thing as standing still. You’re either advancing or declining. A business that maintains status quo falls behind because the world around it is constantly changing. Technology, competitors, suppliers, customers and society all change. It’s imperative that a business be adaptable and change as circumstances change. Beyond adapting – change can present a strategic advantage. Recognizing trends and evolution of the business environment can put a company in a position to assume a leadership role. Developing a strategy based on foreseen circumstances will result in differentiation that’s very competitive. The key is to recognize the opportunity, formulate a strategy, set goals, develop a plan to achieve the goals and execute the plan.
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be … Wayne Gretzky
Recognizing the Opportunity
It’s not always easy to recognize where things will be but it can be done if attention is paid. When change is initiated there is always a period of time before it’s fully adapted. This is a window of opportunity and it can be seen when pending change is recognized. Another indicator can come from anticipated reaction to change. This can also present opportunities. In either case the projected scope and depth of adaptation can be an indication of the potential opportunity.
Strategic Planning and Vision Formulation
The most important factor in taking advantage of opportunities presented by change is the development of an effective strategy. The strategy defines what will be done. There may be more than one possible avenue to pursue and the key to effective strategic planning is to select the best alternative. Many factors can come into play in deciding on a strategy including effectiveness, cost, anticipated competitor actions, length of time to implement, risks, etc. The objective is to settle on the best strategy then refine it to arrive at the best fit for your business. The end result of strategic planning is the formulation of a vision of where your business will be at a point in the future.
Goals and Tactical Planning
Strategy defines what you will do – tactics define how you will do it. Setting goals motivates and encourages. A tactical plan lays out the steps to reach stated goals. It’s essential to the realization of a strategy that specific goals and timelines are established and the path to reach those goals is clearly defined. Without a well formed tactical plan a valuable strategy and potential opportunities will be wasted. If a good plan and realizable goals are established strategic, objectives will be achieved.
Advancing Toward the Future
Strategic planning, goal setting and working to achieve objectives will ensure that your business is advancing. This will ensure that you’re always improving. And when you’re continuously improving you will always be competitive. Looking at where you need to be in the future and working to get there will put your business in a winning position.