Strategy is only one of many elements which collectively, WiKane calls ‘ALIGNING THE MANAGER’.
An aligned SME Manager is clear about their core objectives. Successful Managers are those who are comfortable in their own skin. What they do is in line with their values, with their criteria for success in life. They enjoy their work: it is not a chore.
- What have been the happiest moments of your life?
- Is there anything you regret not having done?
- What are the tasks that you consistently avoid facing?
- What do you admire in others?
From their core objectives, a Manager can create a vision. A vision of what they want to become: a vision of what their business should become. It’s a long-term projection that will nourish your strategy and guide your activities, on a daily basis.
- What do you think your situation should be in 10 years’ time (social, wealth, family etc.)?
- Therefore, what should your company look like?
- How do you think this vision will nurture your strategy?
- Are you ready to use this vision as a guiding light for all your activities?
You draw from this a medium-term goal, usually for five years. In what way does your five-year goal inform your business focus?
WHAT is the concrete objective to achieve your VISION?
- 5 years from now
- A year from now
- This week
The time will come to define your strategy, which is to say: how you go about achieving the vision. A Manager who knows where they are going will find the means to get there. Once the general strategy is defined, it will be developed in line with the business.
- How does the company’s business environment evolve, internally and externally?
- What do you consider to be major challenges?
- In what way do they drive your strategy?
- What are the risks? Which skills are needed? Which improvements must be initiated and supported?
BUT it’s not good enough to simply tread water: TO SUCCEED in a competitive world, you MUST DIFFERENTIATE yourself
- What are your skills and experience?
- Objectively, what are your USPs? Are you sure you’re being objective?
- What are your strengths?
- Does your business have a personality that’s easily communicated?
To keep going and to differentiate is important, but what good is that if no one knows about it? The aligned Manager will create the conditions to promote their business by maximising their company’s visibility. SMEs generally tend to neglect this aspect, which means that those who do invest in this area will reap the rewards.
- Who are the influencers – the movers and shakers – in your area of business?
- What are the benchmark constituents in your sector?
- Are you willing to actually invest in promoting your business, for example to the extent of buying equipment?
- Are you willing to ‘roll up your sleeves’ to represent the company (business clubs, networking, press etc.)?
And then, for all this to work, you need to ensure that the strategy is rigorously implemented. This requires setting up a process, establishing indicators, as well as monitoring and evaluating activities. In short, automating the implementation of the plans to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
- What do you consider to be the relevant indicators for monitoring your campaign?
- What future circumstances might justify a re-evaluation?
- At what point do you think it would be useful to seek another opinion, to challenge and interpret your findings?
- Which trade-offs seem relevant (cost/contact, return on investment., ratios, percentage change, relative risk etc.)?
You need to look ahead. It takes 12 to 18 months to drive change in a company. The whole plan must take this timeline into consideration so that the campaign is launched at the right moment.
- Are you prepared to consider the option of offering shareholdings in the future?
- Are you prepared to accept a delay in a return on your human resources investment?
- Are you aware that some colleagues – historically at the top of the decision tree – may not stay there?
- Are you prepared to consider moving your business to larger – but more remote – locations?
Finally, a key element is that the aligned Manager will need to be able to motivate and inspire confidence in their teams. As the business unifies around a project, individual and collective perspectives will be expanded, quickly improving productivity.
- Is it a good working environment for both men and women?
- Which drivers and initiatives can you leverage to achieve this?
- Are there likely to be any stumbling blocks? How would you remove them?
- Are you willing to truly delegate, give up some control: plainly speaking – to ‘embrace your role’?
A Manager who is ‘aligned’ or on the ‘right track’ will create this significant leverage, so that they will optimise the strategy and further strengthen the campaign.
an ALIGNED managER KNOWS:
- who they are
- what they want to be
- where they want to go
- how to get there
- what their strengths are
- how to communicate
- how to implement
- how to anticipate
- how to motivate