Last night I attended an interesting event last entitled The Art of Strategy organised by Digital Doughnut. Graham Ruddick, Digital Doughnut’s top cheese, was the compere for the night and asked questions of the panel to get their views on the world of digital strategy. The impressive panel for the night featured digital veteran Mary McKenna, Sitecore’s Anthony Hook, and serial investor / entrepreneur (and professional Yorkshireman) Martin Spiller.
Here are my top 10 takeaways from this entertaining and informative session.
1. Keep it Simple.
Every business needs to ask itself these 3 questions:
- Where are we going?
- How are we going to get there?
- When will we know when we have arrived?
2. Make people believe in it.
A core element of strategic success is effective staff communication. It’s crucial that staff really believe in and commit to the strategic vision.
3. We are in the Age of The Customer.
Strategy HAS to be built around the customer. Every business says this, but very few actually execute it really well.
4. Culture is King!
An excellent company culture is a key component to achieving strategic and business success. Bad cultures suffer from sickness absence issues, good cultures don’t!
5. Great strategists are born not made.
Anyone can learn to understand strategy, but only certain types of people have the ability to develop good strategy. Good strategists are willing to take calculated risks and are prepared to fail. However always learn and improve from any failure.
6. Many companies have struggled to adapt their strategy to the digital revolution.
All businesses are affected in some way by digital. Good companies put digital at the heart of their strategy. The panel found that many CEOs of large companies have a poor understanding of digital and its impact on their businesses.
7. Transparency is vital.
Confident companies are not afraid to share key financial metrics with their staff in order to improve performance. It pays to be open and transparent.
8. The strategic weakness of many big and small companies.
Often a typical weakness of big companies is that the strategic vision is produced in isolation by CEO and/or senior management team. Then the vision is delivered in a “top down” fashion without any consultation or staff influence.
Whereas many small business owners work “in the business” and not “on the business”.
9. On-Going Measurement
It’s vital that businesses monitor strategic performance on a regular basis and share the results with the whole company.
10. Is it Art or Science?
It’s more art than science but a scientific approach can help monitor performance.