Welcome to my first Ignite post! As mentioned in my intro, I plan to cover a range of business topics . As I pondered what topic to start with, it occurred to me that the most meaningful topic should also be one of the main essences of all businesses: STRATEGY. In future posts, we’ll explore marketing and brand strategy as well as many other topics that feed into the success of your business’ strategy and career development.

Anyone who is a business school graduate or industry professional has had their fair share of discussions about strategy. Then why do so many organizations and teams have problems coming up with their own strategy? And why does it seem like everyone is so hungry for strategy, but few rarely devote the time and resources needed to implement a strategy? 

Some of this comes down to what Seth Godin discusses in his post “Deconstructing Urgent vs. Important,” as being the fire drills that suck us all in and change the course of our day vs. those items that will really drive our business forward. Often these two things don’t align and we end up focusing on the fire drills and people that cause the biggest ruckus rather than those items that are truly going to produce meaningful results.

If you’re not responsible for strategy, don’t think that you still don’t have a role to play in this! It is every employees’ responsibility to understand their company’s strategy and how they contribute to this strategy.

Throughout my career, I have seen great examples of strategy — and trust me, there’s nothing better than when everyone in an organization is moving in the same direction. I’ve also seen examples where there was either no strategy or it was unclear and not communicated well to the broader organization. While companies can and do find success focusing on the short term, the lack of direction becomes obvious over time.

Is it enough to simply say “our strategy is to provide clients with great investment performance, increase assets/revenue, or bring on more clients?” No. This may be part of your strategy but, more than likely, this message is too broad and leaves employees with too much room for interpretation.

Rather than answer all of these questions in this post, the purpose is to start you thinking about your firm’s business and marketing strategy as well as your personal development plan.

If you’re trying to decide if your strategy needs a reboot, here are a few statistics you might want to consider:

  1. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu
  2. “Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite: its starting point.” ― Henry Mintzberg
  3. “Businesses that complete formal business plans are TWICE as likely to successfully grow their businesses or obtain capital than those who do not.” — Entrepreneur Magazine
  4. “95% of a company’s employees are unaware of or do not understand its strategy.” — Harvard Business Review
  5.  “What do you want to achieve or avoid? The answers to this question are objectives. How will you go about achieving your desired results? The answer to this you can call strategy.” ― William E. Rothschild

As I continue to meet with business professionals, it’s clear that many companies struggle with developing and implementing strategy. My goal, over the course of writing this blog and having more in-depth discussions with many of you, is to:

  • help you commit to either developing your marketing strategy or re-energizing it,
  • break this topic into manageable bites, and
  • achieve a marketing strategy that reflects your purpose and story.

What is getting in the way of you advancing your strategy?