So you want to come up with a new strategy. Maybe things are OK but you think they could be better – or perhaps things aren’t so good and you want to turn that around. Maybe you sense your industry changing and want to stay ahead of the curve. There are a million reasons you might want to tweak the way you do business, and all of them initially lead to a giant brick wall: “What am I supposed to do now?”
I can’t tell you what your new strategy is going to be. But I do know how you’ll get there.
Solicit Everyone’s Input – You can’t change your strategy if you don’t have any ideas about how to do it, and you can’t know which ideas are best unless you have some options to choose from. So get everyone to think about what they’d like to see as you move forward. Not only will it get everyone thinking in the right direction, but it will also begin the process of getting your team to buy in to the idea that things are about to change.
See Which Ideas Overlap – Odds are you’ll have several different people come up with very similar ideas, and that might help you set your direction right from the beginning.
Have Some Messy Conversations – This is probably the most important step, and also (naturally) the one people tend to like the least. Setting a new direction is not an easy thing to do, and the process is not simple and straightforward. So prepare yourself for a few meetings that don’t result in concrete solutions, and accept the fact that big decisions generally take more than an hour of thought before the right answer presents itself.
See Which Ideas Survive – If you began this process with ten ideas, it’s likely that a few of them only have the support of one or two people. It’s also likely that a few of them will turn out to be impractical, too expensive, or otherwise inappropriate. The ones left over are the ones that have proven themselves to be interesting and viable, and slowly you’ll start to see where you should be concentrating your time and attention.
Have Some More Messy Conversations – I think you see where this is going.
Continue Until You’ve Settled On A Strategy – Eventually, inevitably, you’ll figure out what you want to do. That doesn’t mean everyone is going to be in perfect agreement – very few strategies have unanimous and unqualified approval – but it does mean you’ve analyzed all the possibilities, given everyone an opportunity to voice their support and concerns, and settled on something that the majority of your organization is excited to implement.
Charting a new course is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be a painful one. As long as you’re willing to listen to others and open yourself up to the minor chaos of a few wide-ranging conversations, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
For more information on how to choose a new business strategy check out available courses from The Jeff Havens Company in the OpenSesame course catalog.
About the Author: Jeff Havens is a speaker, author, and business growth expert who has spoken to over 1,000 companies and associations across the Americas and Asia. The mission of his training company, The Jeff Havens Company, is to provide serious solutions in a seriously funny way through their video-based courses that tackle everything from industrial safety to corporate ethics to customer service, and all of them are as entertaining as they are educational. Jeff is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal; and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit JeffHavens.com.