Albu On Strategy

Four Vital Steps to Improve Performance

What we like most about team sports is the coherence great coaches create when preparing their players for each game. Successful coaches set clear game strategies that capitalize on the collective strengths of all the players. As a result, the coherence between coach and players provides a winning advantage over their competition.

Unfortunately, that same disciplined approach does not translate into many companies. As an example, in a recent client experience, the owner and management team appeared to chase a number of opportunities without regard to their current capabilities. They had lost sight of, and become misaligned to, what the company did really well. This added unnecessary complexity to the business and undermined their ability to win in the market. Albu Consulting’s role was to help the management team redirect their energies and resources toward reinforcing what they did really well and focusing on their winning advantage.

In a survey of 1800 top executives by Booz & Co.*, 56% of executives said they struggled to make sure their day-to-day decisions were in line with their strategic plans. Most often resources were not being allocated in a way that supported the company’s true strengths. Two thirds confessed their company’s capabilities did not fully support their current strategy.

What can you do to become more focused and successful? Consider these four key steps to create long term value for your company.
1. Get a solid understanding of what your company does really well. What are your true strengths? Where did these strengths come from? How does this differentiate your business from competitors? How do your strengths allow you to win in the market?

2. Focus your efforts on leveraging your true source of competitive advantage. Be ruthless and even obsessive about staying on strategy. Resist the temptation to jump at product or market ideas that dilute resources and do not leverage your company’s strengths. (64% of executives surveyed by Booz & Co. said their biggest frustration is too many conflicting priorities.)

3. Build capabilities that intensify your strengths. Invest in people and processes that will reinforce your products, market position and customer loyalty.

4. Clearly and consistently communicate your strategy to everyone in the organization, and strive to make strategy a part of everyone’s day-to-day responsibility.

Bottom line, understand your strengths and leverage them. Companies that stay focused and invest in what they do best will improve overall performance, and increase their business value faster and more consistently.

(*Paul Leinward and Cesare Mainardi are partners at Booz & Co. and co-authored the book “The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy.”)

Posted in Newsletter, Strategy Development, Strategy Management.