13 Sep Want to thrive in a high-growth environment? Focus on strategy!
by Anthony Castro
In my time at Simplus, we have driven explosive growth within the company. In just a few months this year, we have grown by 250%, acquired two companies, launched several new major departments, and opened new international and domestic offices. Earlier this year, myself and the other executives at Simplus met together and we created an ambitious list of all the major strategic objectives we wanted to accomplish this year, all while aggressively growing the company. I’m proud to say that all of our major strategic objectives have either been completed, or we are well on their way to being accomplished.
But how do we do it? It’s pretty simple: we focus on our strategy as a growing business and leverage that mindset into progressive and supportive day-to-day operations. Let’s take a look at three key factors used here at Simplus that can help you continually drive value into your high-growth organization.
Your strategic planning must drive your tactical actions.
In business, there are two camps of intelligence that all of your functions and practices will fall into: strategic and tactical intelligence. The biggest difference between the two is time. You can think of strategic thinking as your big picture actions and aspirations that drive the company, whereas tactical thinking is the stuff that keeps the day-to-day operations running.
There is no doubt that both areas of planning are interdependent on one another. Strategic thinking pushes a company to recognize emerging trends, analyze future problems, and adapt to situations within their respective industry. Conversely, tactical thinking is what is happening in real time. It is the actionable steps that allow business leaders to identify key factors and resources that may impede or progress the strategic plan. With that being said, it should be fairly obvious where your priorities should lie: the overlying strategic intelligence needs to be the driving force behind your tactical thinking.
If you don’t make time for planning your strategy, then your day-to-day operations will easily overtake your big picture initiatives. As a result, your tactical actions will be reactive instead of proactive in supporting your overall strategy. So, the question is how do you keep yourself in check and make sure your eyes are set on future challenges and not fixated on tactical tasks? There are two things you should focus on:
1. You need to have ruthless prioritization.
As a business leader, it is certainly just as much your duty to support the lower rungs of the organization as it is to be the forward-thinking, big idea person. However, it’s a tight line to walk—execs who get caught up in the throes of the day-to-day happenings of their business will be missing out on future challenges, risks, and find themselves reacting to the business instead of leading it.
It is imperative to prioritize time to envision the company’s next move. Many people say they don’t have time to accomplish strategic initiatives, and these are the individuals who fail to remain competitive in their marketplace. The ability to compartmentalize your time is essential for master prioritization. That’s not to say you should neglect the tactical operations of your business in favor of massive, all-day think tank sessions. But be sure to carve out some time every day to consider your overall strategic vision as it pertains to the tactical operations you observe.
2. You must focus on over-communication and alignment.
So what’s next? You and your executive team understand the importance of being the strategic, push-the-business-forward head honcho. You spend a great deal of time every day analyzing the metrics of the daily operations in order to put into perspective the future of the business. That’s all well and good, but what is the point of your prodigal ponderings if you keep them bottled up to yourself? You need to communicate your ideas to your team, get their feedback, and align their opinions on the subject with your own.
You and every level of your organization need to have hyper-collaboration in both communication and alignment of ideas. To achieve this at Simplus, we first make sure that the executive team has a clear strategy laid out. From there, individual departments need to have a written plan of how their department strategy and metrics will support the strategy of their manager. We use the V2MOM tool, which helps provide clarity and alignment of tactical metrics and overall company strategy. This incisive method allows for adjusting and tweaking until every stakeholder in the plan feels like they have been heard and can also hold up their side of the strategic plan.
There’s no sugar-coating the process of strategic planning—it’s a difficult practice that takes awareness, discipline, and keen collaboration from all involved. But if you are cognizant of your role as a strategic planner, dedicate time to the craft, and relay ideas to and between your constituents, you will continue to stay ahead of the competition and realize growth at an unprecedented level.