The main part of the business planning process is developing strategy. It is simply about enabling the business to meet the needs of customers better than the competition and doing this efficiently so as to make a profit. This becomes complex due to the ever changing needs of customers, capabilities of competitors and the capability of your own business. Strategy is, therefore, a continually unfolding process. Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. Whilst strategy continually unfolds, the focus of the business is maintained through its leaders periodically coming together at Strategy Workshops to review progress and create new thinking.
At our Strategy Workshops we start by asking: why should your business exist? The answer to this question enables the leaders to keep focused on the company’s unique role in our society and the unique purpose it serves. Very often the unique purpose of the business gains clarity through engaging with its many stakeholders.
The second question is: how is your unique purpose delivered? Your answer to this question forms the basis of how your company will differentiate itself within the market. It is through differentiation that a construction companies avoid competing on price alone. It represents the value your company brings to the market which must then be represented in its brand. Your strategy needs to be tailored specifically to your company. Our experience has shown that there’s no generic industry strategy that works. It has to do with your need for growth, your competitive advantage, your positioning, your reality. All too often companies within the construction industry adopt similar strategies and no one gains a differentiated advantage, which leads to race to the bottom competing on price. Developing a differentiated brand positioning and strategy derives from forecasting the market and customer needs and how your own capability and that of your competitors will meet those needs. It's not, “How can I sell what I already have? Who will buy it?” but rather, “What do people really need? How can I satisfy those needs? What does the market really want?”
The third question is: what are you not going to do? Our approach to developing strategies recognises displacement, meaning that you can't do everything in your plan so that what you choose to do rules out other options you also want to do. You're making choices. One thing displaces the other things, and very few organisations are able to do everything. So we help you to make the right choices recognising that they will displace other options.
Answering these three basic questions leads to the focus which is right for your company. We enable you to focus on the key issues that will make your business successful. The workshop environment achieves the required focus. Focus means relatively few priorities. The more priorities or key points included, the less likelihood of implementation. Why? Because we're human. By engaging us we ensure that we prioritising the key issues, that means focusing.
Strategies are about change. Their purpose is to take the company to a new position within the market. To be successful, Strategic Workshops require new thinking. Very often leaders, when they get together in workshops, repeat old thinking. They try to repeat what is worked in the past and/or group think takes over. We use a range of psychological techniques designed in encourage new thinking. These include new and different environments, metaphors, individual silence and retreats, dialogue, etc. We recognise that for new creative thinking to occur, we first need to stop doing and create the space.
Finally, strategy has to be consistently applied over the long term three, four, six years. At Cottleston we firmly believe it is better to have a consistently applied okay strategy than a series of brilliant strategies. Strategy doesn't work when it changes too fast. You don't have time to reap the benefits.
Contact us to chat with one of our consultants about organising a Strategic Workshop for your company.