Clarity on Strategic Direction

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I wear glasses and when I walk into a warm place on a cold winter day my glasses fog up. My immediate reaction is to take my glasses off and wipe them clear. In business you need clear strategic direction to succeed. There are three questions you must ask to ensure that you have strategic clarity.

1. What are the goals for the business? This might seem to be a trivial question. The problem with many companies is that their goals are just too generic. Broadly defined goals serve well as guiding principles but lack substance in terms of outcomes. This leads to the second question.
2. Can you describe the specific outcomes? Concrete definitive outcomes help you develop a realistic road map. Otherwise there are just so many ways to attain your goals. Would you work on every initiative that comes to mind?
3. How do you know when you have reached these outcomes? There needs to be some indicators that you can monitor to validate that you are doing the right work. Without any measurement, you don’t know if you are moving closer to your goal.

These three questions set the stage for identifying initiatives that you will undertake to realize your strategic goals. A business runs the risk of spreading themselves too thin and attempting to do too much because every initiative it enlists seems to fit into the strategic mandate.

Absence of a clear strategy is like walking around with foggy lenses. It is annoying and most importantly, it is dangerous because you might end up with irreversible consequences.

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