By: Kamil Toume
Most CEOs, executives and managers convene for long hours weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually to steer the ship and advance its cause of action. Many complicated graphs, presentations and thick piles of studies, surveys and researches are usually brought to the meetings. It is for a one simple reason which is to advance the business and meet the customer’s expectations. They want to formulate a strategy. Competitors and market analyses, PESTs, SWOTS, Porter’s Five Forces, six sigma, 4, 7Ps, balanced scorecards, financial forecasting, modelling, and planning just to name a few. This is what the business schools and MBAs programs have taught businesses about the best way to design, assess and make a good business strategy. Undoubtedly, some tools are helpful to analyze the business and plan forward but it is missing the most important single factor for laying out and understanding the business strategy. It is about responding to the main challenge that the business owners and entrepreneurs are trying to achieve through economic, social, and innovative edge. Are they challenging a status quo, solving a big problem, or just pouring some money to seize a short term financial opportunity?
Most businesses communicate to the outside world under the assumption that they want to help their customers and nurture business relationships with them. Others continue, we are here for you because your success is our success and the hilarious-gibberish communication continues. Trenched under massive ignorance, they continue to call this marketing and a business strategy. Being different from their competitors is the core of their communication and discussions. In a previous article that I wrote in July 2016 titled “The Competitive advantage in any business is one thing only”. The failure of many firms’ strategies stems from their inability to determine the meaning of a competitive advantage in business. They are literally great “Goals’ Hitters”. It is the backbone of their business strategy. Rarely do their staff and managers understand their business’ cause of existence and what they are trying to solve, challenge, and achieve before addressing customers and market needs.
A great business strategy is the leader’s purpose which is a culture by itself. It is a way of communication, operation, decision making, recruitment, marketing and many more. It is the oxygen of the whole organisation not a piece of paper hanged on the walls and no one understands it. Steve Jobs stated that marketing is about values, but I think the whole business should be established on values and adding value to others. If your business and offerings are purposeless then you cannot add any value. Building a business that drives prosperity requires a good understanding of entrepreneurship and leadership which are answerable, measurable, and questionable by the leader’s purpose, its clarity, and its consistency.
If the leader’s purpose is unclear, indescribable, unimaginable and does not identify a challenge from every angle, there is no strategy at all. Helping customers and meeting their expectations is neither a purpose nor a strategy, it is the result of doing business. Why are you helping customers? A business purpose is born out of the leader’s personal purpose which is translated in a business model. It should not always be linked with a big cause to equate successful outcomes. It must convey the true sense of the self. It is always personal, it is the leader one. A great business strategy should be identifiable from every angle. It does not need a PHD in business to unmask a good business strategy. Why you exist as a person or as a leader is the same for your business. There is no unique corporate culture or a corporate strategy. Uniqueness comes from the leader’s purpose or culture that either manifests itself and inspires or stresses out and confuses everyone.
What is your culture? What is your purpose? What is your philosophy? And most importantly, what is your challenge? Answer these questions first then contemplate upon them before start telling others about your business strategy.