If you find yourself in the middle of the sea with no visible land or point of reference, to plot an accurate course to your destination, first of all you really need to know exactly where you are.
In the old days, you’d use instruments to determine your latitude and longitude – nowadays it’s much easier with GPS. If you didn’t, whichever direction you took would just be guess work; in reality you’d probably be lucky to ever find your destination and very likely to hit something you weren’t expecting.
As a business, similar rules apply. A strategy produced in isolation with no thought to your real current position isn’t a strategy at all. It’s shooting from the hip or driving in the dark without lights: who knows what you’ll hit? It’s exactly the same as sailing into uncharted waters or setting course without knowing where you are – you can’t possibly expect to arrive at your destination or achieve your goals without knowing your positon and the obstacles in your path along the way.
Financial performance, sales analysis and staff and client retention are obviously all important, but as a starting point, we think it’s crucial to know exactly what your customers and your staff think and feel about your business. Our experience of helping businesses better understand their relationships with staff and customers has shown that time and time again, understanding exactly where you are – both the strengths and the weaknesses –
is a crucial element in the process of putting together a meaningful strategy and a meaningful strategy is one based on reality. The reality of what’s really happening in your business – your true position.
Our experience shows that a strategy and plan based on reality actually has a chance of becoming reality and that’s particularly important if your ultimate destination is important to you and you’d actually like to get there.