I say need, because maybe you don’t want to hear these ones as much as you want to hear the other ‘three little words’.
Here goes… Mission. Vision. Values.
Not romantic, I know, but these words wield some real power, setting your ship’s course and giving structure to your strategy.
“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”
That’s right, no matter how hard you work, and even how productive you are, if your efforts don’t result in making progress towards a series of goals, your efforts are in vain. A good strategy brings focus to what you do. It keeps you pointed in the right direction. It documents your purpose and how you’re going to achieve it. Pretty important stuff really.
A well-developed strategy document doesn’t need to be long or complex. In fact, the more concise, the better. It needs to act as your ready-reckoner, a reference point you can refer to, ensuring you’re on track. Having a good strategy is as much about knowing when to say no as when to say yes. Your strategy keeps you from wasting energy on easy distractions. Does this help me reach my goals – as set out in my strategy? Which of the pillars of my strategy does this activity help to achieve? If the answer is ‘none’ or if the answer just isn’t clear, chances are you’re being distracted from the main game.
‘But, what about seizing opportunities?’ I hear you say. Good question, because this is where business owners can fall off the path. It’s pretty easy to convince yourself to do – or not do -anything, including grasping opportunities which don’t fit within your current strategy. When you find yourself faced with an opportunity and you just don’t know whether to swing at it or let it go through to the keeper, here’s what you do: You must turn to your well devised and clearly written mission, vision and values statements. So much more than corporate babble, done well, these statements become your north star, guiding you to your destination. They are the footings on which your strategy is built. They are the most significant, deceptively-simple sentences you can write for your business. Using them as your filter, you can decipher tempting, but ultimately distracting opportunities, from those which will help you reach your goals.
These three things and your strategy are symbiotic – any one of them alone isn’t enough and they all rely on each other for their structure.
We’ve created a Mission, Vision, & Values cheat sheet to simplify the process of determining yours. Need support setting the strategy for your business? onsomble has a Strategy Development package designed specifically to help associations and small businesses to gain clarity and set a course for success.
Keep thinking big,
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