Tools and perspectives to create focus and alignment

Intro

Most teams have a strategy day where everybody gets on the same page. Yet over time teams can start to drift apart in terms of focus. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just a natural consequence of interacting with an ever changing environment

Here’s an overview of strategic principles that you can use in just 10 minutes at the start of a meeting to help your team to stay aligned

Vision and Mission

A helpful distinction is to make Vision about the outside world and Mission about what your organisation is doing to make that vision a reality

Ikea:

Vision – To create a better everyday life for the many people

Mission – To build a business offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them

Tesla:

Vision – To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport

Mission – To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century

Key Trends

Success in a market is often about timing. If you’re going to do something that has longevity and high impact then you’re essentially making strategic bets about what’s going on in the world

Organisations often start by making these explicit but the risk is that you and the team don’t continue to check against them for relevance. Does everybody know what we’re betting on?

Customer Persona

There’s a ton of great information out there about how to create personas. All I want to add to that is that you should be continually updating them and the whole team should be aligned on it. So often different people pick up different information, so they end up thinking about different people. Use that to your advantage by getting everybody’s perspective

Uncommon Offer

This is what draws a customer to you and also what keeps the right ones with you. It goes deeper than USP because it looks at four different levels of your offer:

Tablestakes – the basics to be in the arena you are in

Performance – what you are your competitors compete on

Uncommon Offer – what sets you apart

Stratospheric – industry game changers

Customer Promise

It’s not a marketing soundbite. It’s a clear and unambiguous statement that you can answer yes or no to. Everybody has to be able to say, with high degrees of confidence, whether we are delivering on this or not

McDonalds

“Inexpensive, familiar & consistent meal delivered in a clean environment”

Amazon

“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, endeavouring to offer our customers the lowest possible prices.”

Core Capabilities

The 3-5 things that your organisation has to be excellent at to deliver consistently on your promise to your customer. Whilst there may be overlap with other organisations, these are not ‘sales, marketing, product dev, ops’ – every organisation has to deliver on those

Think specifically about your Uncommon Offer – what do you need to excel at in order to deliver it?

Peak Points

One of the most valuable things you can do to give a team focus and alignment is to get everybody looking at the same point on your timeline

A Peak Point is a milestone that is set at a specific point in the future (3-12 months from now) that give you strategic options. You can have more than one Peak Point as you move towards your vision – but the team’s priority focus should be on the next one