Three Strategic Threesomes: 3 you need, 3 you don’t, and 3 ways you struggle

I was talking with a friend and colleague – and sometimes client – this morning about strategy.

He’s a Vistage chair here in San Diego.  (If you don’t know what Vistage is, you can check it out at http://www.vistage.com.)  We were talking about the difference between strategy and tactics, and why some people struggle with making day-to-day tactical decisions that align with their strategic business objectives.

My contention is that when you know your foundational strategy, the day-to-day decisions become obvious.

He was saying that people don’t necessarily make the connection between their basic strategy and how it informs their decision-making process.

I agree – up to a point.

Because if your strategy isn’t informing your day-to-day decision-making, then you don’t understand your strategy at the level you need to in order to succeed.

You may have a conceptual or theoretical understanding – but it’s not “baked in,” so to speak, at the blood-and-bone level.

And if you’re in business for yourself, you need to have that blood-and-bone understanding.

Ultimately, strategy is more important than branding, or a business plan, or an elevator pitch.  Because ultimately, strategy requires you to understand three things.

  1. Yourself.  Why are you in business?  Why are you in this business?  What does it really mean to you, and do for you?
  2. Your business.  What is it that you do – really?  (And if you think this is a stupid question, just go to any networking event and listen to people struggle to describe their work in ways that make sense to the average listener.)
  3. Your customers.  Who are they – and what is it they really get from your service or product?  (Very, very few – almost no – business owners understand the actual value their customers receive.  You think you know, but I’d be willing to bet you don’t know half of it!)

You can brand yourself, you can write a business plan, and you can wordsmith an elevator pitch – without ever deeply understanding these three things.

And as long as you don’t understand those three things, you’ll struggle.

You’ll struggle to make decisions – because you won’t know how each decision brings you closer to yourself, your business, and your customers, or takes you further away.

You’ll struggle to market your business – because you won’t have the unswerving confidence you get when you  understand who your customers are and what you really do for them.

And you’ll struggle to make sales – because you won’t be conveying a crisp, clear message that speaks directly to your customers’ heart, gut, and mind.

What do you think?

gljudson Leadership