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Thanks to Envisio, our day-to-day activities are now aligned with council’s strategic priorities and we have the ability to measure and report back on outcomes that highlight our City's shared successes.

Sharon Herbus

Director Of Strategy, City Of Lloydminster

6 Tips To Inspire Strategic Thinking

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Talk is cheap, real strategy is no walk in the park. Although you may have heard the saying, ‘work smarter, not harder’ we tend to disagree. You should be working smarter and harder to attain a great, usable, resilient strategy that will keep your organization on the path to success for years to come. But, how do you know what the future will bring, and how do you prepare for it?

Here are 6 tips to inspire strategic thinking:

1. Strengthening your strategy

Build on what you’ve already created and what you’re doing well. Introduce a new technology, features, products or services that support other areas in the organization’s value chain and fit with the current strategy. If execution is sound, implementing systems that can increase efficiency and accuracy may be your next step.

2. The stance on copying competitors

Copying exactly what others in your industry in your main markets are doing isn’t smart. You don’t want to compete for the exact same things as your competition, but rather build a niche market and improve on industry standards. But copying a few aspects that have led to the success of your competitors can still pay off for you as the world is a huge marketplace and many companies only operate locally. Why not learn from the successes of others and add your own flair?

3. How to differentiate yourself

Build out a value chain that sets you apart from others in your industry. Focusing only on the product or service can be a huge risk, especially if you’re in a niche market. Ensuring all activities related to your organization are in line with the value proposition can positively impact your reach to your intended audience.

4. The positive side of a crisis

How you handle a crisis determines your strategic position after the storm subsides. And as they say, when the going gets tough… the tough get going! So keep going, even when it seems like there’s no end in sight. Crises will allow you to see your strategic plan under pressure and possibly make it stronger.

5. Get a leg up on competitors

Strategy execution almost always provides a competitive edge. A successful strategy needs to redefine it itself every three to seven years and with a great execution strategy, you won’t need to waste time on reinventing the wheel when the time comes. It pays off to spend the time now and invest in your execution plan so you can revel in its glory later.

6. Business models: To innovate or not to innovate

A business model is a fancy word for the combination of choices you have made in your activities – your value chain – to bring life to your value proposition. Be in pursuit of how to best adapt and better the creation, delivery and value of what you can offer will set you apart from the competition. Forbes’ published an article in 2014 called‘How To Innovate Your Business Model In 5 (Not So Easy) Steps’, below you'll find the key topics and a great place to start if your business model needs tweaking.

  1. Stop Planning And Start Preparing
  2. Think About How You Create, Deliver And Capture Value
  3. Produce a Minimally Viable Product Along With Business Model Canvas
  4. Scale Smart
  5. Prepare To Fail

Don’t overthink strategy, think of it as a roadmap to get you where you want to be. But, don’t make it up as you go and fly by the seat of your pants or you’ll end up with a reactive strategy rather than a proactive plan. Your goal is simple: Reach the right audience with the right message at the right time, but strategy isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it process. It takes nurturing, adjusting and tracking.

Following the six steps above will help define who your organization is, what you plan to accomplish, what you stand for and what your audience can expect from you. Break the mold and set a new standard of quality through strategy execution.

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