Almost every CEO wants to growth their business. After all, performance improvement is usually how CEO’s get evaluated. The question is, what solution do they use to accomplish it?
Solution Option 1: Do it Myself
Without question this is the most commonly deployed method for pursuing company growth. Unfortunately, it is the least successful. Statistics say that somewhere around 80% of plans fail due to lack of implementation. Only 1 in 4 strategic growth initiatives return value. And of plans implemented they return only 2/3 of projected value. Any way you slice it, not great odds. Most CEO’s didn’t get to the top by knowing how to do strategic planning; they got there because of their overall brilliance. But like anything else, effective strategic development often requires expertise to get the best result. In the meantime, if you want to shore up on your strategic effectiveness, look for our quiz, coming soon, to learn your strategic style and how you can get better results in the future.
Solution Option 2: Sales Training
Sales training is an important tool to make sure your sales force is operating at maximum effectiveness. When there are a few people under-performing the rest, it may be time for more product knowledge or skills training. However, if your whole team is struggling to get the results they used to, chances are it is changes in the market that makes what they are selling a tougher sale. In that case, sales training won’t solve the problem. It could be a stopgap that buys you some time however to re-evaluate the company’s position in the market place.
Solution Option 3: Traditional Strategic Planning
This is a tougher one because there are so many different approaches. There are over 250 strategic planning processes that I am aware of and not one of them yields a comprehensive solution. Each has a specific purpose and situation in which it works best. So, understanding the process doesn’t typically help. One thing to consider is how much effort is going into the process. A one day effort gives a one day result. What typically comes from a one day effort is a list of projects. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was your current business strategy and your new one won’t be either, if it is to be effective. Not in one day. Or two. If you are interested in doing an annual plan that links to budgets however, this may be your best bet. Hire a facilitator who will work with your team for a couple of days. Just be sure to align your expectations with your investment. Like everything else—the return generally reflects the investment in time and effort. If you are looking for a modest 2-4% improvement year over year, a traditional strategic planning approach may work for you.
Solution Option 4: Strategic Engineering
This approach is the one that I use and the only one that I have found that enables the organization to successfully transform its future and significantly alter its growth trajectory in a positive way. (See more on the 3D Breakthrough Methodology) Why? It starts with hard data which means there is more confidence in making tough decisions and the group tends to be able to make more significant decisions. Data also exposes the challenges that no one in the room wants to mention so we get to the heart of the problem. While creating a market-driven overarching strategy that unifies the company is a major outcome, it doesn’t stop there. The deliverable includes how to align resources with this new plan, what needs to be done at the operational level to deliver the strategy, and how to mobilize the people in the organization to contribute. All of that drives hard results and way outperforms the results listed above from traditional strategic plans. This is what is needed if a strategic change is being considered, if the industry is mature or if technology has significantly altered how business is done. Often these factors are important to a CEO stepping into their role and wanting to determine their game plan; to those who are thinking about exiting the business within 5 years and want a favorable transaction; and especially to those leaders who find themselves faced with a maturing industry with slowed growth and increasing competition.
Consider this chart that shows which problems are solved with each type of solution. Which solution are you looking for?
If you still aren’t sure how to get the best out of growth planning, watch the video 7 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Strategic Resource to assist you with yours, OR just drop me a line at email@example.com. I would be happy to point you in the right direction.