Two Questions on Strategy

Posted On: November 29

I recently taught a session on strategy and strategic thinking to a group of business owners. A few days after the session, I received these questions. I hope that you find my answers helpful.

 

Q: I’m about to start planning for next year, with ideas on growing clients, but I’m beginning to think I need to shift focus on things that will help me find and keep good employees. Do you feel company culture is just as important as finding good clients?

I’m very clear on this question. Let me answer with a few bullet points.

  • The success of your business is 100% dependent on the quality of the people on your team, meaning that talent acquisition, talent development, and talent retention should be core strategies in your organization.
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • One of the top factors in attracting and retaining top talent is a winning culture.
  • Top talent is one of the main things that attract more top talent.
  • The customer’s experience will never exceed the employee’s experience.
  • Here is my formula for business excellence: (talent + culture + extreme customer focus) X disciplined execution = business excellence.
  • In my research on the best CEOs in the world, they adhere to this strategy: people first, customer second, supported by efficient operational systems, all leading to solid financials.
  • Remember that all of this must focus on the “right” customer. Do not waste time chasing nonprofitable customers. One of my favorite quotes is, “I know we’re losing money on every transaction, but we’ll make it up in volume.”
  • When you have top talent, they will help you find the right clients, foster a more robust culture, and improve business operations. In other words, top talent = financial success.

 

Q: Where should we spend more time: deciding on the right goals or creating the execution plan to get them done?

At first I was a little confused about how to answer this question, but then I realized this shouldn’t be an “or” answer. It is an “and” answer. You must do both. You must have the right goals AND a plan to execute them. A great plan that is not implemented is useless. A flawed plan that is aggressively executed can put an organization out of business. However, it’s been my experience that most plans/goals fail because of a lack of disciplined execution. It’s not that people don’t want to execute the plan; they do not create a culture of accountability that requires people to deliver the necessary business results. If you were my organization, I would work hard to create a solid plan with clear goals and then work hard to hold my entire team accountable for executing that plan effectively.


If you want to get in contact with me, I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my site at https://johnspence.com/contact/ and let me know how I can help.

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