I have no doubt in my mind, that having a sound strategy that is shared and understood by all stakeholders, and then execute flawlessly, is the way to lead an organization towards success.
Yet so many organizations fail to find that winning strategy, or even if they do, plans are not followed through and the effort gets lost.
But the strategists should understand the tactical challenges that are faced through execution, avoiding the risk of becoming too disconnected from the realities of the market and the organization’s own limitations of skills and resources. As I wrote in this article, high-stake organizations ensure this by only appointing individuals to strategic planning teams, who have a strong operational experience and are deeply respected by those who will be responsible to carry out their strategies.
In the modern corporation, the need for identifying a winning competitive strategy, and realigning it periodically cannot be denied. Most corporations utilize a widely accepted tool, the QBR or Quarterly Business Review; which gives a respite in the day-to-day, allows to do post-mortem analysis, and recommit to the strategy, introducing the adjustments that are necessary. Some use these events to align different functions to better serve each other, calling it an “interlock”.
But how to determine this winning competitive strategy?
It was, one hot and muggy Floridian morning, walking our dog in the neighborhood, when between tugs and pulls from her, everything came together and made sense. While the elements have been a close companion for me for years, I consolidated the concept of the SPICE method through an epiphany. The concepts are rather simple, but their power lies in using them together, focusing around uncovering the true value of your offering and creating a meaningful strategy around it. It consists of five basic steps:
STEP 1: Take an Inventory of your Strengths
To be able to compete in today’s world, we need to have specific strengths that will put us in a privileged position to win business and get the preference of our customers.
STEP 2: Find your Why (your Purpose)
Every organization needs to know why they do what they do at a deep level. It is about clarity. Can you express it in less than 50 words?
Motivation becomes clear, and will help build a business that also pursues the larger goal.
STEP 3: Find your differentiation, what’s your Incomparable value?
Sure, you are great at what you do, and you have a passion for it, because you have an ulterior reason to do it. But why should a customer choose you? Don’t be afraid of driving yourself out of some opportunities. If you go for the smallest viable audience it will make it much easier to target your business, and will drive competitors out.
STEP 4: Coordinate your Strategy
Aligning your strategy with your goals is important because it ensures that everyone involved is working towards the same objectives, every day, all day. It also makes it easier to make decisions, measure progress, and track results.
STEP 5: Execute!
Without execution, all the planning and strategizing in the world won’t amount to anything.
Check back frequently on the strategy and make sure that execution is following the plan. It is easy to get lost in the day to day of managing a business.To learn more about the SPICE method, download our free booklet SPICE: A method for developing effective strategies