Innovation has never been so rapid, while simultaneous the cost of falling behind has never been that high. Business leaders are looking for innovative ways to create value for their company, no longer based on gut feeling but based on hard facts.
Understanding what happens in your business environment leads to a higher degree of strategic agility.
Strategic agility is the outcome of a smooth interplay between two core leadership abilities:
In a fast changing business environment, marketeers and business developers need tools and processes to gather relevant information, spot trends and uncover relationships immediately. Rather than falling victim to hindsight, they need to see the full picture.
In order to remain front runners, organisations need to adopt strategic agility, a mentality of continuously adjusting strategic directions. Strategic agility is a continuous process of adapting to changing circumstances while staying ambitious and focused.
Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersma, in their book The Discipline of Market Leaders (1997), described three generic competitive strategies: operational excellence, customer intimacy and product leadership.
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As to Treacy and Wiersma, companies need to choose their customers, narrow their focus and dominate their market. In order to succeed, companies must strive and then achieve market leadership in one of the three above mentioned disciplines and perform to an acceptable level in the other two.
Being clear about strategic priorities ensures that all processes are built to accommodate this priority and everyone in the organization is contributing towards the same goals.
Strategic agility is the result of combining a clear business strategy, including long term goals and key milestones, with the openness to adapt that strategy as the business progresses.
A wide adopted framework to draft a business strategy, especially among tech entrepreneurs, is the Business Model Canvas.
The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that allows describing, design and pivot any business model along with nine easily understood business parameters:
A better understanding of your business environment allows for faster decision-making, better planning and clearer internal and external communication. Continuous monitoring of your business environment helps you to systematically screen, understand and evaluate emerging technologies, disruptive innovations, competitive products and services in your business space.
Situational awareness helps
It should be clear that developing strategic agility is a necessity to make smarter strategic decisions. Where to go next, which leads should be your first focus or what technologies you need to watch closely, adapt or neglect, are questions better answered with a data driven approach. Doing is only possible when you really understand your environment.
Achieving strategic agility requires organisations to rethink their information needs. Based upon an inventory of existing data, tools and processes, you should map the ideal information flow and the interaction between all involved stakeholders.
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