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Showing Symptoms of Strategic Issues? Call the Doctor!
Imagine two identical doctors. Both are seasoned professionals with many years of experience. However, one doctor makes quick diagnoses, acting on little except a “gut feeling.” The other doctor is slower but more comprehensive, talking with the patient, examining medical history, and conducting tests before finally making a diagnosis. The first doctor may be faster, but the second is far more medically sound. Which would you trust? Of course, doctors are seldom as impulsive as the first hypothetical doctor. However, businesses often behave that way when diagnosing strategic issues. Businesses that undertake a process to determine the root causes of unrealized growth goals can often overcome their hurdles with solutions that have a sustainable impact.
A thoughtful diagnosis of a business’ growth strategy requires understanding the symptoms of strategic issues, the process for making a diagnosis, and the benefits of professional advice.
Symptoms of Strategic Issues
There are a variety of reasons to re-evaluate business strategy, but common symptoms include:
- Sales revenues are stagnant or declining
- New products/services are not getting any traction
- Market share is declining
- Prices are under pressure
The Diagnosis Process
It is important for the person or team making the diagnosis to have an unbiased opinion of the strategic issues, and also be able to clearly recognize and acknowledge their symptoms. To comprehensively diagnose the issues that underlie these symptoms, there are a few steps to follow:
- Assess the current state through a series of interviews and document reviews to fully comprehend the current state of the company, strategic plans, and day-to-day functions
- Organize findings into a Go-to-Market, Get-to-Market framework by categorizing current company activities and how they relate to any growth hurdles
- Surface key themes and identify gaps in each target category of the framework
- Compare findings to industry best practices to develop action plans around weaknesses in the Go-to-Market, Get-to-Market framework
The Benefits of Calling a Strategy “Doctor” for a Diagnosis
Blue Canyon often serves as a strategy “doctor” by using a Go-to-Market, Get-to-Market framework to make a diagnosis and re-align a company’s strategy with its end goals. The approach allows for a comprehensive analysis of how a business-to-business company positions and presents itself in the marketplace and through the commercial cycle.
There are significant benefits to investing in outside advice. First, the strategy “doctor” has seen many cases, which enables him/her to properly diagnose issues under any specific circumstance. Second, a structured, thoughtful diagnosis enables the organization to gather buy-in from stakeholders that will be critical when it is time to implement change. Finally, a proper diagnosis will minimize fruitless efforts that result in missed opportunities, wasted cost, and reduced company morale. The end result of a proper diagnosis will be a clear map of strategic strengths and weaknesses that will enable the company to focus its strategy, increase operational efficiency, and strengthen its competitive advantage.
Case Study Example
Blue Canyon recently developed a diagnosis and solution for a client with stagnant revenues. While the client’s sales team believed they were doing well, the rest of the organization didn’t agree. Beyond this organizational misalignment, the company’s strategic plan was missing key elements to provide structure, goals, and tactics. The diagnosis involved a series of interviews across different organizational departments, a review of strategic documents, and a full analysis of company commercial Go-to-Market and Get-to-Market activities as compared to industry best practices. Based on Blue Canyon’s diagnosis, the company segmented and targeted its efforts more effectively, developed metrics to measure the efficiency of resource allocation and powered up its revenue line.
In summary, with a comprehensive diagnosis, the company was able to address the underlying growth challenge and at the same time gain buy-in from stakeholders around the organization by confidently allocating resources to remove growth barriers, and adding enhancements that will ensure that the company will have a positive, sustainable impact on the bottom line.