Strategic Leadership December 2014

Strategic Planning

Change is inevitable in our day and age. Changes in technology and science alone are robust and seem to go at a speed no one can keep up with. And the truth is, unless you are changing with the times you and your business or organization will find yourselves extinct like dinosaurs; just another story of the past. I want to help you in this article to learn how to apply strategy to your business, organization, family life, and anything else you know changes or needs to change, so that you do not become like our friends the dinosaurs.

Strategic leadership is one of the most valuable skills any organizational leader can possess.  Strategic leaders are visionaries, and are always scanning the environment to see what is on the horizon. These leaders are high achievers who never settle for less, and help others to achieve the same. Wouldn’t you want to be a strategic leader? Well, after this article I expect that you will have a foundation on strategy and how to apply it to your organization and business.

Strategic leaders are always concerned with sustaining a competitive advantage. The way to do this is what is commonly referred to as strategic planning. Strategic planning is taking your company from one place to another. The following steps will help you and your teams strategize for a better future (Hughes and Beatty, 2005).

Acknowledge where you are. You will never be able to move your company or team unless you truly understand where you are at. This includes how you are doing in business, how is the culture of your organization, and what goals have you been able to fulfill lately. Finally, who are you and what is your market value. In other words, what do you bring to the table and why should customers contact or buy from you.

Where do you want to go. Once you figure out who you are and where you are at, the next step would be to figure out where to go from there. What is your vision? What do you foresee in the future for your organization? For many, this is a very difficult step in the strategy process because many find themselves stagnate. My recommendation is to use your team for ideas, creativity, and innovation. If you still find yourself struggling for a vision, it may be time to hire an outside consultant or coach.

What is the process to get from “here to there.” After you have laid out the plans of understanding who you are and where you want to go, the next step would be to figure out a system that works for you and your team. In this process you are analyzing and trying to figure out what would be potential road blocks for you and your team in making change. Once you get these potential speed bumps out of the way, it is time to make the move, which is our next step.

Make a move. Most people I have worked with stumble over this strategic step because it is the most unknown. As I said in the beginning, change is not easy but it needs to be done. After you have completed all the previous steps, it is now time to make the journey to your successful future. Although I am very optimistic, the reality is that many of us will fail a few times. But that is ok; every failure shows you where you can improve and how much closer you are to your organizational victory!

Measure everything. What gets measured gets done. Let me repeat that: “what gets measured gets done.” Let me make another bold statement: everything can be measured. In this part of your strategic plan you are checking your progress, investigating what has worked up to this point and what has not; and what adjustments need to be made. Once you are here and have had great business success, you are now ready to repeat this process in another part of your business or organization. Remember, every organization needs renewal. This is your chance to innovate and launch out into the unknown. What are you waiting for? Start strategizing!

Peter Rios is a consultant to businesses, organizations, and religious institutions. His company, R.I.O.S.-Robust Innovative Organizational Solutions, LLC, focuses on leadership development, organizational diversity and renewal. Rios’ passion is to add value to people and see their organizations transformed. Equipping people with the tools for success and building relationships through

team work brings him great fulfillment. His extensive experience and doctoral education in strategic leadership has made him a sought out speaker, facilitator and coach. Rios has traveled to speak and serve in China, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Canada, and throughout the U.S. In the United States Marines Corps he gained global leadership exposure in multicultural settings while stationed in Okinawa Japan and South Korea. Ríos is an adjunct professor in Indiana at Wesleyan University. Mr. Rios is married to his lovely wife Dr. Ruth Gonzalez-Rios and resides in Rochester, NY. For consultancy email him at pedrrio@mail.regent.edu To connect with Pedro Rios go to his
website at riosconsultants.com

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