A new CEO might be tempted to start from scratch and scrap a company’s strategy when they first come on board. But even if the strategy seems outdated at first glance, this does not mean you should abandon it completely.
There is always opportunity to improve a strategy when deciding whether to start fresh or use the current strategy—and this can happen during regular strategy review, not simply when leadership changes hands. Before you make this critical decision, take the four steps below to determine which is the best option for your company.
Clarify why you might need a new strategy. To begin this process, you need to clearly answer a few questions: Why do you think the organization’s current strategy is outdated? Is an outdated strategy the reason your predecessor has left the company? Is it perhaps a data issue affecting the relevance of the strategy? Have the vision or needs of the organization changed? Specify what exactly you think the issue with your organization’s strategy is before you jump into creating a new one.
Conduct a strategy review. A strategy review is a 22-step process that should take about two hours to help you and your team understand the impact of your current strategy. This process will help you answer questions like, “Do we have the right market or strategic intelligence to accomplish our goals? Are we looking at the right strategic options? Have we chosen the best options to pursue? Do we have the right mechanisms to execute the strategy? Are we measuring the right things and learning the most from the strategy? Are we meeting our goals and having the impact we envisioned?” Answering these questions with detail will expose the benefits and pitfalls of your current strategy.
Identify the gaps in your strategy. Conducting a strategy review will also reveal the gaps in your current strategy. You’ll see where the company is doing well and where it is falling short. Whether you keep the bones of this strategy or scrap it, you will have identified the gaps and have the tools to develop a strong and successful strategy. Be sure to look closely at the strategic foundation to ensure the strategy’s success through each of the seven stages of optimizing your strategy. From here, you’ll be able to ensure the right strategic intelligence by considering both internal and external factors, determine the best options to pursue, and engage the entire team in creative thinking. Identifying the gaps in your current strategy will ensure you know how to measure, learn, and communicate properly for the next iteration.
Involve everyone. Once you have identified the gaps in your strategy and determined whether you will mend those or start fresh, it is very important to involve everyone in the organization. One of the biggest mistakes executives can make is to make the strategy about themselves rather than the organization. Everyone in your company has the ability to contribute great ideas, intelligence, and execution, and involving them in strategy will ensure their engagement. Low engagement is actually why many strategies often fail because your teams don’t know or understand where the organization is looking to go and why.
Remember, strategy is a process not an event. You need to give yourself and your team enough time to gather intelligence, review the strategy, identify its gaps, and involve everyone in the organization in the right ways to ensure success.
Get more tips on keeping or revamping your strategy from The Complete Leader’s Ask a Coach web series.
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