Businesses expend significant energy establishing and effectively communicating their brand story to their teams across the organisation that in turn embody the business values to provide an in store experience that accurately reflects how the business wishes to be seen and what it represents. From this platform, businesses can look to the future and set strategic plans to fulfil on the business mission and long term vision.
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Mission as a platform for business direction
The clarity and direction offered by well-phrased business vision, mission and value statements can effectively shortcut strategy development.
When this is the case, the business vision is already clearly defined. All it takes is establishing how to distil that mission into a direction that can be broken into achievable and definable actions and achievements.
Consult with teams and management
Consultation is a practice to be supported in business at all times, particularly those times when change is in the wind and future directions need to be established to secure market share and profitability into the future.
Consultation has two key benefits:
- It is an opportunity to gather information about internal business, external market and competitor activities that have the potential to impact and inform questions of business direction
- It can create a sense of engagement amongst teams and managers to the overarching business strategy and a sense of ownership of the resulting strategic objectives that may eventually be asked to deliver on
Consultation is a desirable and beneficial activity. Although it may be a time consuming process and one that can cause dormant issues to rise to the surface, its potential benefits outweigh the negatives if conducted effectively.
First it is essential to ascertain the key stakeholders that will reflect the broad based business perspective that is required to gather a holistic view of the current business context.
It is helpful to include:
- Staff members from across the depth and breadth of the business
- Key decision makers
- Business leaders
- Resource managers
- Highly influential staff
- Staff with valuable insights into competitors activities, latest technology and consumer sentiment
These key staff may be called upon at several stages throughout the strategic planning process to gather information, feedback and reflections on outcomes.
Define strategic direction
This final stage before getting to the detail of fleshing out and implementing strategic plans requires clarity and focus.
Defining the strategic direction for the business period ahead is generally the work of senior leaders or executive management. Taking note of the results and information gathered through consultation, they consider options through the lens of organisational mission and vision to establish and define the focus of business activities to come.
Generally, the act of defining strategic direction is one of distillation and application to the current business context.
It is less a visionary activity and more of a pragmatic one, interpreting the retail landscape and considering potential opportunities for growth in market share, brand awareness and customer loyalty to name a few.
Strategic direction may be considered and defined for different areas of business activity such as:
- Service delivery
- Human resources
- Environment and sustainability
- Social and community
Ideally the process of defining strategic direction guides and streamlines the development of strategic objectives.
About ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au