That 2019 has been a year of change in the UK is really beyond question. Was it a mostly strategic or a mostly tactical time for the country?

We’ve had a year when Britain was expected to leave the EU but hasn’t (yet) and an election that created a majority for the party that brought us the years of chaos following the referendum and years of austerity and poverty. It has not been the script that many wrote, nor that any predicted. I’m open about my politics, so I really don’t need to reflect further about that here, other than to set the framework for a number of thoughts that I think are worth exploring for business people.

We have had a time of uncertainty (and that is the backdrop in which we will remain for some time yet as a country), yet the businesses that I have seen thrive have been those that have brought certainty to their markets. As this year ends, and a new one begins, we have a chance to do that better for our own businesses, if we are strategic.

What does that mean for businesses like yours and mine?

Firstly it shows how important it is to have clarity of vision. When we know where we are going we can navigate the roadblocks and adjust our course, whilst keeping focussed on the destination. Understanding why what we do matters; to whom; how we reach them; and what they need (and want) that we can provide – is vital to our success. For me this is the cornerstone of “Strategic Thinking”.

Secondly, there are risks and opportunities. Every business faces both, some beyond our control (but we can control how we will react if they happen) and for some, we can take action in advance. This is the landscape we operate in, our market and how it approaches and positions what we do. We need to create a framework in which we can both stand out and be effective. Working these things out is the cornerstone of “Strategic Analysis”.

Now we have to think through how we are going to make it real, identifying what we need to do? What we need others to do? When does it need to happen? What resources are needed? What Knowledge, Skills, or Experience? For me, this is the cornerstone of “Strategic Planning”.

Finally, we have to make it happen and be held accountable for what we commit to doing. Too often businesses try to plan too much, too far ahead. My aim, when working with clients, is to focus on progressively shorter periods for each cornerstone, planning in detail for a month or two at most, and holding actions accountable over no more than a month, before a further review. This is the cornerstone of “Strategic Action”

As we turn a year number up by one, (and in this case move into the ’20s) we have an opportunity to identify and build (on) these four cornerstones. To refresh our goals, our strategic aim, to analyse what that goal means, to build the plans that move us towards them, and to start the actions to make it real. Doing this now will mean that the business has a much better chance, in 2020, of having a year remembered for its successes.

To assist the analysis phase I’ve designed a Business Audit. It will guide you to focus on the areas of your business that need attention first, and for best effect. Read more about that and take your Audit here… or arrange a call with William.

I also firmly believe that one cannot do that alone, it needs the collective input and reflection, of a mastermind group, or a mentor, and an accountability partner.

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Written by: William Buist - all rights reserved.
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