Seven “Rs” of Strategy
A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a particular result. Originally used in military matters, the word is now common in many different fields. The right strategy is extremely important for leaders to achieve their targets. Strategy captures the vison and breaks down long term goals into specific action steps.
Seven ways to build a successful strategy:
Redefine the direction by starting with the end in mind. Determine the long-term results you want to achieve. This process should start with an examination of your needs, and then envisioning what the end result will look like – what the goal will be. It is important to have a clear vision of where you want to be in the future.
Resolve the problems. Before setting a strategy, it is important to understand any barriers that might impede your progress toward the goal. Keep in mind that symptoms are often confused with problems. A strategy is then developed for resolving the symptom and not the specific problem. This leads people to wonder why the desired results are not achieved. For example, an organization having difficulty retaining customers might develop a new marketing plan as a strategy, when the real problem is one of chronically poor customer service. A wise strategy would have focused on improving the customer’s experience.
Recognize who is going to be the champion of the strategy. Every initiative needs a leader who will manage the strategy and ensure that people focus on the right things. This champion must have the ability to communicate and to make any change real in the eyes of those who need to execute the strategy. An important factor is ensuring that people clearly understand, and buy into “Why” the strategy is important.
Review the results regularly and make any necessary changes as quickly as possible. Don’t wait until the end to see if the strategy worked. One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is not debriefing regularly to determine what was successful and should be continued, as well as what didn’t work and why.
Retain the strategies long enough to establish the results. Too often organizations introduce a new long-term strategy, but by the end of the year believe that the culture and principles are so well established that there is no need to keep the strategy front and center. It takes a minimum of three years to change behaviour sufficiently enough that it becomes automatic. If organizations don’t keep setting the expectations and focusing on important strategies, people will soon choose not to spend time on those areas. For instance assuming that the strategy of building client relationships to increase sales is ingrained after one year, and therefore introducing a number of new strategies the next year, may be a mistake.
Realign with personal goals. It is important for success that there be a strong linkage between the strategy and the personal goals of staff. Organizations that do not currently help every employee to develop annual personal goals should consider doing so in the future.
Reward and celebrate success regularly. Goals should be broken down into small wins, with the successes shared and celebrated. Sharing the results is critical to keeping people engaged and excited. Not celebrating successes is the downfall of many organizations. Celebrating successes is a simple and very effective strategy; everyone likes to feel appreciated.
These seven simple steps can mean the difference between achieving mediocre results and achieving great results. A leader’s role in executing the strategy is to fully support the process through:
- Regular coaching
- Asking the right questions
- Listening to people’s suggestions and concerns
- Building solid relationships to develop a strong team dynamic
The Seven “Rs” of Strategy will provide a path to greater results.
February 1, 2007
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