Raise Your Share CEO Patrice Watson’s formal introduction to “strategy” for business coincided with Miller Heiman & Associate’s 1985 release of the classic Strategic Selling.
Strategic Selling was one of the core customer-focused selling principles for The Center for Sales Strategy created by Steve Marx for media companies. Applying theory, psychology and basic math principles to complex sales, the Strategic Selling system validated a holistic approach to building collaborative partnerships with clients.
Programs like Creative Problem Solving Systems and Cincinnati USA Chamber’s early Strategic Eight Process were used for ideation, sales development and planning in various business categories including a Year 2000 reboot of legendary city publication, Cincinnati Magazine, in partnership with Partners in Change. At the suggestion of Texas Monthly founder Mike Levy; Watson embraced his favorite tactics on business from the book, The Art of War. Author Sun Tzu was a high-ranking Chinese military general, strategist and tactician and his treatise is commonly known as the definitive work on military strategy and tactics of its time.
Josh Plaskoff of the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University, introduced Watson to long-term strategy and organizational planning using a tactical tool called the transformation map. In the map process, colleagues from different department silos work on strategic long-term planning together to gain awareness and understanding how individual department goals and actions impact the organization as a whole. The transformation map outcome is a clear, concise and visual strategy implementation plan of how to get from where you are now to the vision of where you want to be.
Today, strategy is ubiquitous for all things business, sports, economy, marketing and more. Upon completion of projects and systems, if you are asking – is it worth this investment? – chances are strategy was rushed or relatively nonexistent. With a bullish effort to streamline business and hasten to get it done; investment, talent and time get wasted.
Take time to ask important questions in the strategy phase: What’s the objective? What do we do wrong…and right? What is the user’s experience? Is this feasible and fundable? And what is the unrepeatable expression of your value proposition? Gathering information, understanding relationships, techniques and capabilities and clearly defining goals are critical information to build your strategy.
What’s our biggest fear of taking time for strategy? That you’ll get stuck in the strategy development phase and never get anything done. The age-old proverb, Measure twice, cut once, sums it up succinctly. Don’t get paralyzed by strategy. Conversely, get energized with confidence of how to move forward and stay on track while integrating your findings along the way. Whatever you call it – master plan, road map, transformation map or design thinking – you won’t regret taking the time to develop and understand a coherent strategy so that you don’t squander your resources.
Want a better return on investment? Start with a strategy.