You Can’t Afford to Dabble with Your Strategy / by

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You’ve heard the phrase: ‘Variety is the spice of life’. But in business, variety will quickly drain the life out of your business strategy. Don’t dabble with your strategy. Merely dabbling with a strategic plan is like setting sail on a boat with no rudder to steer it. You may catch a good wind, but the wind controls your direction and speed not you, the skipper. A clear consistent strategic plan that holds a company on course, builds a foundation of strength from year to year to pursue bigger goals.

Companies of all sizes struggle with identifying the best options to accelerate growth and drive value. These firms will dabble with different approaches to see which will work best. Too often they stretch current resources—money, time, and people—too thin when they ‘tryout’ these initiatives. The actual investment in any new approach is diluted, and the new initiatives get abandoned quickly before they can return results or add value. Taking on too many new initiatives or tackling too many goals wastes resources, reduces any potential results, and divides the team.

Before taking action or setting sail; define your critical 3-5 objectives for the year, your destination for the year. Then develop a set of goals, initiatives, activities and projects that lead to or take you closer to achieving those objectives this year.

When you consistently lead with a defined set of constrained consistent, integrated goals you give your company and your executing team a single voice, a single unified focus instead of dabbling in areas where you have no expertise.

Optimize Resources

Planning your strategy is always about optimizing the given resources to achieve elevated (stretch) goals. To leverage your most valuable assets (usually your rarest resource)

  • Make each goal clear and explicit
  • Focus on the smallest number of goals that will produce the highest returns.
  • Identify and specify your criteria for each of these goals (why they must be a goal, how it will be measured). These will drive operational implementation.
  • Identify and acknowledge what opportunities and goals will be missed by your selected strategy. Build consensus to focus on what you do best and not dabble in distractions.
  • Assess that this is indeed the best path (but not the only possible path) to take to meet your goals and criteria.

Due Diligence

Businesses most committed to achieving the goals of their strategic plan for growth and value also commit to an internal due diligence to determine the critical factors they’ll need (or that they lack) to fulfill that strategic plan. This investment in a deeper analysis of the opportunities they plan to target separates assumptions from reality. It’s also a confirmation of commitment to apply the necessary resources (or invest in them) to achieve the goals of your strategic plan, both short-term and long-term.

Dabbling Is Poison

In 2015, there is no room to dabble with your strategy. The market window to maximize the value of your business is limited. You can’t afford to have dabblers on your team in any area. ‘Only experts need apply’.  Strategic dabbling not only puts this year’s goals at risk, but also your goals for the next five years (aka your exit plan).

Don’t be cornered by team members or advisors who want to dabble in a new area, or wear another hat for you, on your dime. To learn more about releasing dabblers and building an all-star team around you, check out my eBook, How to Manage a Gaggle of Advisors to Build an All-Star Exit Team.

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