Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Strategic Planning and strategic thinking - what should employees know?

What are the most important things for employees to know to think more strategically? A quick survey of recent attendees at our strategic planning seminar yielded these areas for improvement:

1. Thinking about our business from the customer's perspective
2. Understanding the economics of our industry
3. Knowing the competition and their strong and weak points
4. Understanding our strategy and the reasons for it

Beyond this, I would contend that employees do need to understand some of the fundamentals of strategy - the concepts of strategic capability, focus, specialty and commodity strategies, and market share are all very useful in many jobs, not just executive ones.

Do your employees know these things? If they did, how would it help your company?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Strategic Planning - Recession Opportunities

We all fear recessions – in most industries, we hate going through them. But recessions are an inevitable part of a dynamic economy. No amount of planning or regulation will prevent this (in fact quite the opposite). So how do we come through the inevitable in good shape?

In our strategic planning programs, one of the key ways we have seen companies come out of a recession well is by viewing the period as an opportunity. Clearly, your first priority should be survival, but I like to follow the advice of Warren Buffet: “Be fearful when people are greedy, be greedy when people are fearful”. Here are four areas of opportunity you should be considering in the next year:

  1. Get new customers – customers will be looking to change how they do business because of recession pressures. Why not be that change for the customers you aren’t currently selling?
  2. Get new employees – with a tight labor market, you have a unique opportunity to bring top shelf talent into your organization.
  3. Add capacity – you’ll get far better deals on capital improvements you want to make now. It’s like vacationing during the off-season – cheaper, and less crowded!
  4. Make acquisitions – some great acquisition targets may be available at bargain prices in the next few months. If you’ve been putting this off, and you have the resources, now is a great time to buy.

Are you considering other strategic opportunities because of the current economic climate? Let me know!