A word from Reed Kennedy

How do you get people to buy what you have to sell, and not buy your competitors’??? Our minds typically go to marketing, but before marketing happens, company strategies need to be developed. Overarching strategies are what give a firm a competitive advantage and what lead an organization to achieve its vision. It’s much bigger than marketing.

In a dynamic and competitive business environment, why do some companies outperform others? Firms that are successful generally have a strategic management process that helps them set strategies and execute them on a clear company vision.

Strategic management is typically an annual process where a strategic plan is developed or updated. But sometimes disruptions such as a new competitor, a competitor’s new product or service, or an external influence like Covid-19 require an organization to immediately assess the situation and revise their strategic plan.

The strategic management process starts with a review of the organization’s mission, vision, and values. It is important to get this right, as they guide the remainder of the strategic management process. The next step is to evaluate the external and internal environments of the firm through the use of various diagnostic tools. A SWOT is developed from the important findings from the analysis, from which the strategic issue(s) is defined.

Completing this preliminary work is important, as it drives the strategies that are developed, the next step. A strategy is typically a higher level, broad goal, without a lot of specifics. It is long-term in nature. It provides the direction that an organization wants to move toward to improve its performance and achieve its vision. The nomenclature may vary, but the idea is to develop a hierarchy of goals. Each strategy has a set of goals, and each goal has a number of detailed sub-goals. Accomplishing the sub-goals leads to completing the goals which leads to achieving the strategies.

Have you ever completed a strategic plan, and then find it has gone on the back burner as you deal with day to day operations? This happens frequently. An organization needs a disciplined process to keep the accomplishment of strategy on the front burner. A monthly scorecard that tracks performance to date against targets and distributed broadly can make this happen.

If your organization wants some help putting a strategic management process in place or producing a strategic plan, please contact me.

Reed Kennedy, a former hospital administrator and business owner, has taught strategic management for many years at Virginia Tech and consults in strategic planning. Learn more about his services HERE , or via email at kennedyr@vt.edu, or LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/reed-kennedy-4ba1b815/


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