- Innovation has never been so rapid, while simultaneous the cost of falling behind has never been that high. Business leaders are looking for innovative ways to create value for their company, no longer based on gut feeling but based on hard facts.
Understanding what happens in your business environment leads to a higher degree of strategic agility.
What is Strategic Agility?
Strategic agility is the outcome of a smooth interplay between two core leadership abilities:
- the ability to define a business strategy with clear ideas about long term goals and important milestones
- the ability to adapt strategy when a market changes or when products/competitors evolve
In a fast changing business environment, marketeers and business developers need tools and processes to gather relevant information, to spot trends and uncover relationships immediately. Rather than falling victim to hindsight, they need to see the full picture.
In order to remain front runners, organisations need to adopt strategic agility, a mentality of continuously adjusting strategic directions. Strategic agility is a continuous process of adapting to changing circumstances while staying ambitious and focused.
What is your focus?
Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersma described in their book, The Discipline of Market Leaders (1997), three generic competitive strategies: operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership.
- Product leadership- creating a great product and leading the market with a novel idea or solution
- Customer Intimacy- understanding the pains of a customer and how their experiences with the market
- Operational Excellence– using automated tools for invoices, correspondence, making sure there is no waste in the value chain.
For more details please refer here.
As to Treacy and Wiersma, companies need to choose their customers, narrow their focus and dominate their market. In order to succeed, companies must strive and then achieve market leadership in one of the three above mentioned disciplines and perform to an acceptable level in the other two.
How can you develop strategic agility?
Strategic agility is the result of combining a clear business strategy, including long term goals and key milestones, with the openness to adapt that strategy as the business progresses.
A wide adopted framework to draft a business strategy, especially among tech entrepreneurs, is the Business Model Canvas.
The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that allows to describe, design and pivot any business model along nine easily-understood business parameters:
- Value Propositions
- Customer Segments
- Customer Relationships
- Cost Structure
- Revenue Streams
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS will lead to strategic agility
Gaining a better understanding of your business environment allows for faster decision making, better planning and clearer internal and external communication. Continuously monitoring your business environment helps you to systematically screen, understand and evaluate emerging technologies, disruptive innovations, competitive products and services in your business space.
Situational Awareness helps
- communicating to clients why they should do business with you
- focusing on what you are best
- staying ahead of your competitors
It should be clear that developing strategic agility is a necessity to make smarter strategic decisions. Where to go next, which leads should be your first focus or what technologies you need to watch closely, adapt or neglect, are questions better answered with a data driven approach. Doing is only possible when you really understand your environment.
Achieving strategic agility requires organisations to rethink their information needs. Based upon an inventory of existing data, tools and processes, you should map the ideal information flow and the interaction between all involved stakeholders.
- what data do we need to understand our business environment, i.e. leads, customers, competitors, strategic partners, suppliers e.a.
- which mega-trends might impact our business environment, i.e. technological breakthroughs, climate change, urbanisation e.a.
- who needs access to which information at what moment, i.e. business development, sales & marketing, the board of directors
- how can we build a scalable process to collect relevant data, transform it in actionable insights and share it with all involved parties