Strategy Snapshot – Reviewing Your Direction for the New Year

05 January 2016

David Andrews |

Although the process of setting and executing your organisational strategy is a constantly turning wheel, the New Year period does offer the perfect chance to pause, take a step back and refine the direction that you will pursue in 2016. 

Regardless of size or turnover, any organisation can benefit from a simple review of strategic direction and making a few small tweaks to prepare for what 2016 may bring. This should not be overly complicated and can start with the steps below:

Look Inward

Commence with a quick organisational self-assessment that looks at what is actually occurring (or not) in your business, how you performed during the last calendar year and how robustly you have planned for the year ahead (and beyond).

  • Did the activities undertaken in 2015 help you to move toward your long term objectives? If not, why not and what needs to change?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of the strengths, resources and capabilities of your organisation and the team that runs it?
  • Is your current strategy set to capitalise on these strengths and capabilities?

Look Outward

2016 is already primed to be a year of significant events around Australia with both local and federal elections to take place and major structural and investment programs to be implemented – including the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

In addition to what is happening within your organisation, you should dig into what may happen outside your organisation and think about your preparations and responses to ensure you achieve your objectives.

  • Will changes in the political environment in the next 12 – 24 months impact your strategy?
  • How will your market shift in light of structural changes or reform?
  • What actions are your competitors likely to take this year?

Restate Your Fundamentals

Your organisational fundamentals form the backbone of your culture, strategy and decision making and include: 

  • Your vision – your long term direction and what you are seeking to accomplish
  • Your mission/purpose – the reason(s) that you exist
  • Your values – what you stand for
  • Your unique value proposition – what makes you different in the market

It is surprising how many employees are unclear on the fundamental aspects of the organisation for which they work, and even more surprising how many organisational leaders and business owners are similarly unclear or unable to meaningfully discuss the above. Take some time at the outset of 2016 to ensure that you and your team are aligned on, and invested in, the direction and purpose of the organisation.

Revise Your Tactics

In light of the above, think about the actions that need to take place and the people that need to be empowered to help your organisation realise its goals – specifically what changes must be made to business and action plans to get them up to date with a sharpened strategic outlook.

Balance Today & Tomorrow

As 2016 unfolds, ensure that you are focused on executing strategy in the present moment and concurrently preparing for the future.

This process frequently refers to making strategic decisions and deploying resources for ‘3 Horizons' (as featured in Baghai & Coley’s ‘Alchemy of Growth’), meaning that your strategy and actions must focus on:

  • Horizon 1 – dealing with the business of today
  • Horizon 2 – acting for the business and competitive environment of tomorrow
  • Horizon 3 – thinking about possible organisational and market futures and creating viable options for (or ideally leading the charge toward) the unknowns to come

Investing some time now to ensure that your strategy and tactics are in perfect position for the year ahead will help set your organisation for a positive and successful 2016.