Business strategy tools and techniques enable teams to examine relevant issues before determining a strategic direction. To jump start the process, gather the team together and establish a mission or vision statement, objectives, priorities and action plans.
Creating a Mission Statement
Building a mission statement involves determining your purpose. Start with a brainstorming session. Give everyone an opportunity to state their opinion about what your organization’s values are. Encourage everyone to be creative and explore options. Ask probing questions, such as what does the team want to be known for achieving? This discussion helps your team decide the kind of workplace you want to foster. Next, prioritize. Label critical items with the letter A. Label important items with the letter B. Label nice-to-have items with the letter C. Rank the items in each group by numbering them in order of relevance to making your organization successful.
Then, choose one or two ideas from each category, and discuss them in greater detail. Review examples of past mission statements to refine your mission statement. Your mission might be to promote the personal growth and development of each staff member as a new employee, early career, specialist, expert and master. Publish your mission statement in a public place.
Conduct a SWOT analysis. This allows you to identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Divide the group into four teams. The first team’s task is to identify your organization’s strengths. These are the capabilities that enable the organization to perform well. The second group should focus on listing weaknesses. These are things that prohibit your company from performing at its best. The third group identifies opportunities. These are trends that your organization can capitalize on to succeed. The fourth group should identify threats. These are events outside your control that might derail operations. You need to plan for these and mitigate damage. Have each group prepare a poster and presentation for their findings.
To set strategic objectives, you need to define key results areas. Then, you can align activities. The idea is to meet customer needs, win competitive deals and exceed expectations. For example, your organization might consider customer satisfaction, innovation, quality and cost containment important. Brainstorm ideas about what should be considered and what metrics are available to track and monitor progress in these areas. For example, for customer satisfaction, you might consider survey ratings, returns and other customer service data. Create objectives that specify how you intend to improve in these areas. Finally, determine cross-functional collaboration required to carry out strategic initiatives and create a communication plan to link efforts. Without this link, groups may develop parallel efforts that don’t align.