Most business strategies are too static and suffocating to guide businesses properly. Strategy and tactics get confused, and businesses often fail to give people down the hierarchy the flexibility to maneuver efficiently. IdeaPros, a Super Venture Partner™, explains how instead of creating over-detailed business strategies that stall your business, you can use business strategy to give teams room to maneuver within a well-defined vision for where the business needs to go. IdeaPros guides entrepreneurs with great ideas through the complexities and pitfalls of the startup world, and elaborates below on how this type of active strategy keeps everyone moving in the right direction without smothering flexibility and creative action.
What Is Active Strategy?
“War has no constant dynamic.”
–Sun Tzu, ancient Chinese strategist.
Like active investment management, the idea of active business strategy is to always be on the lookout for change. Investors know that market conditions are constantly changing and need reassessment, so why do business owners pretend like they can carry on with strict plans in the face of change? If there is a crisis, detailed business strategies, instead of leading to good results, often lead to paralysis because teams can’t move outside the boundaries set by long planning documents.
With active strategy, businesses rely on management to be true leaders. This requires good people to lead with a clear direction and vision. Think of your strategy like an internal story the business tells itself about where it’s going. This general story should include potential opportunities and challenges that the business will have to face, but it does not need to account for every little step or choice along the way.
Leaders within the company need the freedom to make those smaller, tactical decisions as they appear. If it is clear where they should be going, they will be able to course-correct as conditions change without having to climb all the way back up the hierarchy to check on every little problem.
How to Implement Active Strategy
To bring an active strategy to your own business, sit down and think about where exactly you want your business to go. In five years, what story would you like to tell yourself about where your business has been? Once you have a picture in mind of what you want your company to be, sit down with your team to explain the plan to get their buy-in. Leave room for suggestions, but don’t agree to anything you will later ignore.
Once the plan is clear for management, they can handle the day-to-day details based on the overall goals and vision you set for them. Give them the independence they need to readjust when problems arise, but check in frequently to see how things are going.
If things are going well, don’t micro-manage. Give your leaders your trust. If things aren’t going well, reassess with them in detail to see where things are going wrong, but after your reassessment, give them the freedom to act as necessary. If they can’t lead without handholding, they shouldn’t be leading at all.
Remember, the goal with active strategy is to be flexible without losing sight of where you’re going. You don’t want to get lost in the minutia of tactics, and you don’t want to let teams wander without direction. They will trust a clear vision and respect the freedom they’re given to achieve it. This active strategy will keep you ready for the constant change of business markets without having to redraw the plan every time something minor changes.
IdeaPros is a Super Venture Partner™, who guides entrepreneurs with great ideas through the complexities and pitfalls of the startup world. Set on elevating the success rate of new innovative products and apps, their team leverages their collective experience to create demand among consumers and maximize upside potential for their partners.
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