Shopping Your Way to Better Strategy: 5 Key Considerations

Watching both the excitement and frenzy surrounding this holiday season gives me pause, once again, to amaze at the various approaches people take to their shopping excursions. While in the mall two days ago, I noticed the full continuum of strategies – from the rather aimless ‘wanderer’ to the hyper-focused ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ laser-guided consumer.

Watching these nuanced seasonal dances makes me realize how much this mirrors the approaches taken by leaders in the hosting of strategy conversations with their work teams and organizations.

Let’s take a look at our ‘wish list’ and see how closely the two compare:

What do you want to achieve?

As a shopper, clarity and focus about what you’re seeking really helps save tons of time, effort and frustration. Similarly, leaders who are clear on what their strategy efforts must accomplish are much more likely to design an approach that actually gets them the results they seek. Is it greater brand recognition? Improved market share? Entry into new markets? You, and your leadership team, need to decide and agree on what you want to get out of your efforts.

budget strategyHow much are you willing spend?

Being clear how much you’re willing to expend during your shopping adventures, in terms of money, time and effort, helps reduce stress, helps keep your bank account in reasonable shape and leaves time for other activities that might just be more fun.

When facilitating strategy conversations, you’ll want to consider how ‘big and wide’ your efforts must be to engage your team members, get meaningful results and yet leave time for all the other things that have to occur in the workplace. The tendency is to overreach and over plan – what’s the simplest approach to get the results your want?

Who needs to be involved?

When you’re purchasing gifts, you might want to consider collaborating with your partner, siblings or friends to reduce costs get something extraordinary or share the backside risks of a ‘unique’ purchase.

When thinking about crafting strategy, getting the right people involved will make a huge difference in terms of the quality of conversation, long-term buy-in and the resources you’re going to expend. Go beyond the traditional ‘tried and true’ to include others who typically may not be involved but who have informed perspectives or whose engagement is critical to your eventual success. This may include partners, suppliers, thought leaders and even ‘parallel competitors’ who inhabit different market segments.

What’s your ‘fall back’ option?

meetingIf you can’t find what’s available on the store shelves, get it online or make it yourself – you’re going to need some backup options and choices. Similarly, during your strategy conversations, you’ll want to be able to pivot when new information emerges about any number of factors including your competition, the marketplace or your latest sales results. Setting your approach to strategy formulation is a good start but with an understanding that alternate paths will often be required, in mid-stream conversation, to get to where you want to go.

How do you ensure that what you ‘get’ makes sense?

Avoiding the issue of unwanted or unsuitable gifts is often made easier by checking with your recipients about what’s on their own ‘wish list’ and thinking carefully about their needs before you finalize your purchases. When you’re designing and hosting strategy conversations, the ability to quickly test new ideas in real time with customers and stakeholders provides a ‘launch pad’ to new initiatives that have greater chance of success.

So, this holiday season, as you set your sites on how best to succeed in your shopping experience, consider how to leverage your learnings into the new year’s strategy conversations.

If you’re curious about how to design and host more effective strategy conversations, touch base with me for a brief conversation: [email protected] or 250-882-8830.

About The Author

Scott Borland, Founder & President of CYGNUS Management Consultants Inc, , is a recognized expert in helping executives host strategic conversations and obtain high impact feedback. He brings insightful perspective and proven strategies to strengthen the alignment between strategy and leadership behaviour. Scott has presented frequently at regional/national conferences and is a regular contributor to online journals/blogs. Follow Scott on Twitter or add him as a connection on LinkedIn.

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