Change happens outside of our control on a regular basis. Sometimes it is predicable, sometimes not. What was once effective, no longer works. Instead of waiting for outside forces to create havoc with your business, it is time to starting thinking about what would make it stronger.
I offer you three areas to explore: Positioning, Productivity and Partnering. In what area would you like to do some planning?
In any business or organization it is important to differentiate yourself in a relevant, meaningful way from everyone else out there.
Remind yourself why you chose the business or industry you came to be in. What were your hopes or aspirations at the time? What really matters to you? While probably not at the top of your thoughts, the core values that attracted you once are most certainly still important to you. How do those values and aspirations play in the current market environment?
Then, take a closer look at the unique competencies and strengths in your organization. A simple SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) will can help you easily begin to identify current strategic opportunities. Read more about SWOT.
Whether you face increased competition, or simply don’t want to work as hard as you have in the past, you can become more efficient by focusing on what you do best.
In 1906 Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that twenty percent of the Italian people owned eighty percent of their country’s accumulated wealth. Over time and through application in a variety of environments, he developed a concept that has become know as “The Pareto Principle,” “The 80-20 Rule,” or “The Vital Few and Trivial Many Rule.”
The rule states that a small number of causes is responsible for a large percentage of the effect in a ratio of about 20:80. In a management context, the theory is that 20% of a person’s effort will often generate 80% of their results. The challenge is to distinguish the right 20% from the trivial many. Once you start looking, you will find powerful implications in every area of your business
- Do 20 percent of your products account for 80 percent of product sales?
- Do 80 percent of your visitors see only 20 percent of you web pages?
- Does 20 percent of your sales force produce 80 percent of the revenues?
- Is 80% of your time spent on Trivial Many activities?
What competencies are bringing you the majority of your results? Once you figure this out the idea is to focus!
Forming an alliance with a complementary partner can have many benefits. Working together with a partner may enable you to offer more value to clients, create new combinations of services, and think through ideas from new perspectives. If you think a partnership might be beneficial, start by identifying your own core competencies. Only then, should you start looking for a partner.
When you are successful at finding a candidate with complementary strengths, it is time for both of you to sit down and do some strategic planning. So many partnerships begin without clear roles and responsibilities, expectations and written goals.
Why not schedule an upcoming planning meeting, and take one of these areas as the topic of the day. I challenge you to some exploration. If you are afraid of getting stuck- think about working with a coach or facilitator!
Author: Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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