We do not need to even ask it. I am sure that if I asked you, do you consider that strategy is important for the success of a company ?, a large majority would say yes.
But I am also sure that if the second question were: how much time do you dedicate to strategic thinking? The vast majority would say that little or very little time.
It does not make much sense, right?
And if we ask this same question to the executives of the companies, the results to both questions would be very close to 100% in both cases italy email database.
If it is so important for the success of our company and we are aware of it, then why do not we dedicate time to it?
The reasons for this situation to occur recurrently are very varied, but I will try to summarize them and then show the solutions.
Reasons why companies do not spend time on marketing strategy
This situation is applicable to many areas, but because of my professional experience I will focus the analysis on marketing.
1. Orientation to sales.
Constant commercial pressure to try to meet sales targets is a constant factor in companies. And, of course, it makes all the sense. Companies need to sell to function and be profitable.
But not everything is sales, or rather, to get sell and be profitable, there are many other things that we must take into account.
But do not like it or it is not the reality of the companies. The vast majority of things that are done, are focused on selling and their success is measured in sales and not by other key factors. It’s something we have to learn to manage.
But the result, at the management level, is that what is not related to the commercial has little space in the agendas of the organization.
2. Wrong job beliefs
There is a widespread belief in companies that has very negative consequences on the performance of daily work and especially in the operation of the company:
“The more busy I am the better I do my job and the better I am”
We think that doing many things every day means that I am being productive, it gives us the feeling that we are moving forward. That’s why we fall into the traps of email, meetings and endless days.The second factor is the image that we project internally:
“If they see me busy, if I am constantly bragging about how hard I work, they will think that I am doing my job well and therefore I am essential and I have a better chance of moving up”
The pity is that in many companies things work like this. But of course, the reality is that success at work depends on the results you get, not on the hours you spend at the office.
These beliefs and the obsessive orientation by the sales, take us to the third reason.
3. There is no time to think
In this context, when we talk about strategy or anything that involves stopping to think, we find great resistances both in management for the possible effects on short-term results, and in day-to-day dynamics.
The strategic stops are left for later, there is always something more urgent to do.
We are so busy that we confuse the urgent with the important.
4. Lack of knowledge and experience
And as a consequence of all the above and the lack of custom there is a great theoretical and practical ignorance of what a strategy really implies.
When asked, what is the strategy of the company or the department? The answers are of the most varied and the vast majority have little to do with strategy.
They confuse strategy with objectives (“we want to sell more”), with tactics (“being present in social networks” and even with tools (“we have a new tool to optimize processes”).
Once analyzed the reasons for the paradox that I raised at the beginning of the article, we go with the solutions.
How to introduce strategic thinking in the company
1. Strategic thinking does not imply inaction or excessive time
As I said a large majority is clear that the strategy is important, but relate to stop daily activity and with a high dedication. And that is not true.
The strategy is what prepares and guides the company towards success. In my opinion it has little to do with inaction.
“If the best athletes train hard to win races, why do not companies prepare to get the best results?”
Strategic thinking does not require large amounts of time, but space to do it.
Following the previous example, if we want to incorporate strategic thinking into our day-to-day, we have to train every day. We have to find the time to rethink things every day, to discover the paths that lead us to the results we expect.
“If you incorporate strategic thinking into your day-to-day, you will be doing what all managers consider important and do not do … and as a consequence, you will be ahead of the competition that does not.”
And of course we have to be clear about what it means to think strategically.
The people (I speak in generic, because the strategy is not only for managers, another mistaken belief) that they have learned to think strategically focus the solution of the problems and the decision making in a broad way and thinking in the long term. And this is achieved through objective analysis, long-term thinking and planning.
This requires being able to define the context of different situations, identify the objectives and see what should happen so that these forecasts are met. In addition, we must identify what are the consequences of these decisions both internally and externally.
2. We have to learn to prioritize and better organize our time
We have to learn to be more productive, not to do more things in less time, but to decide what is really important and to organize your day based on those priorities.
For the moment, forget the tools, learn the healthy habits, the methodology to achieve it and take control of your life. In these topics I strongly recommend reading Berto Pena on his blog.
3. Have the necessary information
The great facilitator of strategic thinking and, ultimately, of the necessary medium-long-term vision, is information. Or rather the data transformed into information and this into knowledge.
Analyzing data and trends allows us to have that vision about what is strategic for the company and what is not. And this leads us to have solid criteria to prioritize actions, make decisions, allocate resources better and align strategy with the company.
This information allows us to lead and commit ourselves to our project. The sources of information can be diverse, but in the case of marketing we are talking about digital analytics (you can read about analytics seen from the point of view of marketing here).
4. Ensure the viability of the strategy
It is often said that: “paper holds everything”. Our ideas and calculations can make all the sense on paper, but from there to be real.For this to be successful:
Validation of the idea: we have to discuss this idea with our team so that they give us their opinion and if it really makes sense, that they help us translate the proposals into a real plan that can work. In addition, that team needs to understand and believe in it to get it going with probabilities of success.
Facing their ideas with reality and with opposing ideas will help to improve the result and its future implementation.
Check that we have the necessary people and resources: another fundamental part, is to make sure that we have everything necessary to carry it out. Especially to key people.
And of course, tactical planning and implementation.
5. Ask for external support
If necessary, we can have a figure of an external consultant who acts as a facilitator of the process and who contributes his methodology and experience in the definition and implementation of the strategy.
On many occasions an external vision contributes an extra objectivity and is able to find new ways (and errors) that from within are more difficult to see.