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How To Realize An Effective Strategy

Posted By haukeborow On December 8, 2009 @ 18:20 In Management Techniques | Comments Disabled

Leading

means to realize your personal Visions.

Therefore you have to transform an actual state into a target state by
managing complexity, dynamics and intransparency of all corresponding influence factors.

Your folks have a right to know what vision you have and how you want to realize that vision.

But how would you explain that to them ?

All you need is a conistent strategy. A strategy answers the question of how you want to realize your vision.

This is a crucial point because nobody will be really amazed about your vision without having an idea about how you want to accomplish it.

Your folks must understand you. This is essential for the leading process.

A strategy is a very effective tool to lead teams into a certain direction because it describes the way to your vision.

So this is how you create an effective strategy in 10 steps :

1. Analyze the actual state honestly
2. Build your vision – target state
3. Break your vision down into a system of targets
4. Harmonize your targets
5. Build an action-list
6. Cluster your actions
7. Organize your actions
8. Execute Your actions
9. Control your actions
10. Adjust your actions and learn from them

You will find lots of written text in the internet or in books about
every single step of this process.

In this article I will try to give you an overview of the whole process.

Later on I will add more detailed information about some of these points.

1. Analyze the actual state honestly

Look at your actual situation and ask yourself honestly what doesn’t work and
which things have to be changed.

Perhaps you remember notes from your team that were adressed
to you in the past referring to a certain disgrace.

Perhaps you have various key figures for your project that alarm you
by becoming worse and worse.

Go deeply into your actual situation and analyze it profoundly and honestly.

Gather all facts that characterize your actual situation and put them into a list:

What are the strengths of you and your team?
What are the weaknesses ?
What are the opportunities for your project?
What are the risks ?
Are your folks content?
What differentiates you from others ?
Is the quality good of what you and your folks are doing?
Do you like the communication in your team?

After having done that you mark all the things in your list that have to be changed in some way because you simply dislike them.

Very often you can’t identify clearly whether something is correct or not correct.
But that doesn’t matter. You are a leader so you have to decide whether it is correct for you or not. That’s the origin task of a leader. No one can help you with that question.

It just has to feel right for you personally. Every Leader interpretes a situation individually.

You wouldn’t be an authentic leader when you just rely on the assessment of other persons.

Be convinced of your personal and individual discernment.
You’re a unique personality. No one is like you.

Try to find out what you like and what you dislike about your findings and put these things into a new “like/dislike”-list.

This has been your first important aggregation in this process.

2. Build your vision – target state

After that please try to put your points out of the “like/dislike”-list into a few sentences that describe your mental image about the future as if it has already become reality.

Formulate these sentences with a positive message like:

“We are a member-oriented society that appreciates an internal polite contact as well as
a friendly outward appearance. No other society in this region supports its members
with such a pleasant atmosphere. We support people with the highest quality of
all comparable societies.”

Something like that. You must feel amazed while reading your sentences. Then you know they’re right. As long as you have a feeling like something doesn’t really fit you must improve your message.

After some time and some trials you will experience an amazing emotion.
An emotion that reveals the final version of your personal vision to you.

3. Break your vision down into a system of targets

Your vision is the fundament for all further steps in this strategic process.

It is a driving force for your team if your folks agree with your vision.

They must agree with your vision if you want so succeed.
But for that you must show them a concrete way.
So concretize your vision by breaking it down into specific targets.

Targets should meet the following requirements:

- specific
- measurable
- ambitious
- realistic
- scheduled

Here are examples of different targets:

- to reduce the number of complaints by 10% until October (2009/10/15)
- to increase the number of members by 20% until the end of the year (2009/12/31)
- to increase your blog earnings from 1.000$ up to 2.000$ per month
- …

Try to find as many targets as you can. The more your targets differ from each other the more your strategy works effectively.

This is due to the complexity of our world. You are always confronted with lots of factors that have impact on your strategy. So you won’t succeed by adjusting only one of these crosslinked factors. You should adjust as many as you can.

But pay attention to the interdependencies between your targets

4. Harmonize your targets

There exist three kinds of targets:

- complementary targets
- indifferent targets
- competing targets

There is a very easy rule for your target system: Look out for the first ones, accept a few of the second ones and avoid the third ones. Then you have a consistent and effective system of targets.

The first group contains targets that complement to each other. When you achieve such a target then you necessarily come closer to the other one. Such targets are really great because they turn your target system into a harmonic one.

The second group of targets is neither good nor bad. Sometimes you have two deal with two targets that don’t have any contact with each other at all.
You can’t avoid this but you shouldn’t have too many of them.

You should rather look out for the first ones.

But please do me a favor: Avoid the third group. These targets are really dangerous because they destroy your harmonic system. The achievement of one of these targets prevents the achievement of another one.

If you are confronted with such targets just choose one of them and let the others go.

Try to reduce your targets afterwards to a number of 5 to 10.
In the end your adjusted target system must represent your strategy holistically.

5. Build an action-list

Build an action-list by asking how to achieve the targets.

What would you do in order to achieve your targets rapidly ?

Make a little brainstroming or use another creativity technique together with your people in a workshop for example.

That’s always a good starting point for an action-list.

It also allows your team to partake actively in the strategic process.


6. Cluster your actions

Using a creativity technique should create many ideas in a very short period of time.

That’s a good thing. But very often you get ideas that sound different but express
the same content. So try to sort your list of ideas by cleaning it from any redundance.

Try to reduce your list and transform it into a comprehensible actions-list of
max. 10 projects, actions or whatever.

A list of more than 10 actions can easily lead to confused team members
and it includes the danger of dispersal.

7. Organize your actions

No we come to one of the most crucial steps:

Organize your actions by assigning responsibilites to them.
One responsibility for each action.

Your actions must have the names of living persons because you want to create
a living strategy.

You will never realize a strategy effectively without assigning
clear and unambiguous responisbilities.

If you want your people to identify with your vision and your strategy you must
accomplish that they identify with the deduced actions.

Your strategy is based upon these actions like big companies are based upon
their employees. Words and intentions are nothing than noise and smoke without
being assisted by your people.

At last your strategy is nothing than a thought.
Pure energy. There is no strategy that can effect something in our world. But there are people who can effect something.

Exactly for that reason you concretize your vision and break it down until you are able to
define these responsibilities.

But don’t forget to schedule them. It’s very helpful to schedule actions in order
to achieve your targets step by step.


8. Execute your actions

What can I say to a point like “Execute your actions” ?

Do it !

Use the principle of urgency. Everything is urgent.
Of course you must decide from case to case what’s more urgent.

But in the end all of your actions are urgent because your vision is urgent too.

As soon as you have internalized your own vision and have got a
strong belief in what you want to realize, you will feel this urgency.

This is due to your personal passion. A passion that characterizes great leaders.


9. Control your actions

To control actions doesn’t mean to distrust your folks.

But human beings tend to be sluggish and they don’t like it very much to
leave their comfort zone. That’s natural and normal.

It’s your task to explain why they should move and it’s your challenge to make them wanting to partake in your vision.

It’s just your job to motivate them and to let them feel the energy
of your personal vision and strategy.

To control them means to care for the status of your strategy achievement.
So reserve a sufficent period of time to ask for the status regularly.

10. Adjust your actions and learn from them

Projects and actions don’t learn. That’s an important finding.
Real leaders grow and develop with their projects.

You will create lots of visions in your life and you will deduce
lots of strategies from your visions dealing with very different matters.

You are the driving force behind these varying visions and strategies.
You turn energy and potential into acting human beings who change the world.

So try to become better in what you’re doing. Try to strengthen this
force by learning and developing from your projects.

Please let me add one more thing:

The effectivity of your strategy depends on your love for details from the beginning until the end. The more detailed your strategy is the better it will work.

As a leader you must always keep the whole process in mind and you should develop a love to embellish it with details because your strategy contains a mental anticipation of future events.

The more details you can rely on the more you can have a look into the foggy future.

The more you are able to anticipate the effects and impacts of an action in detail the more you will succeed.

That special finding differentiates a good and professional strategy from a bad one.

The good one takes much more time. It is hard work to plan as many details as possible.

But it is worth it.

Of course it is always a balancing act of how much efforts you want to invest compared
to the benefit you expect. This depends certainly on the dimensions your project has.

An industrial company that earns 1 billion Dollar a year will probably invest more
efforts into a strategy than a sailing club that just receives donations from its members.

Your vision, your passion and your love for details will determine the success of your personal strategy in the end.

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