Many executives equate strategic planning with staging a “SWOT analysis”—an examination of their organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. But recent research adds another element to the mix.
Strategic thinking also involves harnessing the right resources to propel a company’s growth. These resources must be distinct to your organization, hard for competitors to mimic, long lasting and capable of boosting profitability.
One of the most overlooked strategic advantages is an organization’s culture. It’s unique to each business, tough for rivals to copy, durable and tied to profitable operations.
Staffers in a thriving culture care about contributing to the group’s success. They track the numbers and push themselves to produce better results.
As Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great, the best companies benefit from cultures that foster superior performance. People with a shared commitment to excellence make their employer an industry leader.
Does your culture fit the bill?
- Audit your workplace to find out. Evaluate how employees show initiative, propose solutions and express pride in the organization.
- Study the marketplace and identify what it takes to stay ahead of the competition. Ensure your workforce enjoys sufficient freedom to experiment with ideas and take creative risks without negative repercussions.
- Look for ways to improve the culture. Stop forcing employees to compete against each other. Reward groups for collective achievements and goal attainment.
— Adapted from “Good to Great Strategic Planning,” Kevin Herring and Killen Herring, www.ascentmgt.com.