How do you build a strategy?

If you consult the top management experts of our time, you’ll find a long list of different definitions. It’s a very complex topic, and it’s difficult to draw a circle around. When you try to, some things get left out and in order to define it in less than a book, this happens.

There are of course commonalities that run through them:
– It’s based on being clear about how you’re repositioning yourself for greater advantage in the future
– It’s about purposefully aligning today’s behaviours in order to make that happen
– It’s about generating competitive advantage and knowing what drives it
– It’s about being very specific about how to make it happen

So if you’ve been tasked with writing a strategy, start by:
– Clearly defining what the desired future state is: What would success look like tomorrow?
– Challenging assumptions: What drives success?
– Understand what the current barriers really are so you’re focusing on action that will create results: What is the root cause of your barriers?
– Establish both the outcome and operational changes: What needs to change to get you there?

Planning the seeds of loyalty in a customer intimate environment

Is truly delighting your customers and exceeding their expectations (and zone of tolerance, thereby planting the seeds of loyalty) something that you hope will happen by just doing what you currently do? In your industry, is it easy to surprise customers in a good way? Or is it something that needs to be crafted through a combination of a scientific approach and deep knowledge of what matters most to your customer… coupled with solid foresight or intuition of what moments matter most? Do your employees have the congenital disposition of customer innovation and responsiveness that drive the experiences you need to create?

Is it something that occurs by encouraging employees to bring these kinds of ideas forward or even just empowering them to act when they see the opportunity. Is it something that is generated through wisdom of crowds or your client intelligence team? Do you know what opportunities exist and is there some kind of process to select these moments and choose the ones that best align with your brand and value discipline?

Are words like “delight” too fluffy for you? Do you prefer to think of customers as purely logical beings that don’t integrate their emotions into how they react to you? Are you seeking to create solid business value, and leave it there? Is that who your customers want to deal with?

These are all questions you need to answer.