As a leader, making the right strategic decisions for your business is one of your most important duties. However, it takes more than keen insight and decisiveness. Even exceptionally sound and compelling strategic business decisions need support to get off the ground. Getting an entire leadership team on board with a strategic business decision requires a little due diligence, done collaboratively.
To ease that process, American Management Association (AMA) highlights six key questions for leaders to explore with their team before moving ahead with a strategic business decision:
1. What is our strategic foundation?
The ultimate goal of any strategic decision is to improve and strengthen an organization for the future. To work towards that goal, you need a clear and achievable vision of what you want the organization’s future to look like. That vision is your strategic foundation—what you’re going to build on. For example, you may envision expanding your business in Asia over the next year. So, strategic business decisions will need to reflect that vision and start from that foundation.
2. What are the internal and external conditions?
The second question focuses on assessing the various internal and external circumstances your business is presently facing. For instance, how will the economic climate in Asia benefit or hinder your expansion plans? Do you need to invest in additional work sites? Are current staffing levels adequate?
3. What results do we seek from this strategic business decision?
To make an impact, a strategic business decision must drive business results. So, you need to define the results you’re hoping for. Are you seeking a certain level of increase in your profit margin? Are you aiming to gain competitive advantage in a new market? The decision you make now is just one step toward achieving your overall vision for your business, so be clear about the specific and tangible results you want.
4. What methods will we use?
Once you’ve clearly defined the results you’re seeking, you need to figure out exactly how you’ll make those results happen. Will you need to develop a new product for the Asian market? Will you need to build a new factory to make that product? Will you need to tailor your brand message to Asian consumers or launch a new marketing campaign?
5. What actions will be taken?
What concrete actions will be taken, and when and by whom? This question drills down further into what needs to get done to achieve the desired and required business results to make your vision a reality. Will you need to hire a new international business director? Will you need to reorganize teams to support the efforts?
6. What progress are we making from strategic planning to execution?
This final question is essential when moving from strategic planning to execution, and will need to be asked, again and again, as you continue to implement your decision based on the answers to the five previous questions. Are you making progress toward your goal? Are adjustments needed?
No leader is an island. Even the best, brightest, and most beneficial strategic business decisions depend on the backing of a leadership team. Once you’ve got consensus on the answers to these six questions, you’ll be in a much better position to move forward with the right strategic business decisions for the future of your organization and work together to fulfill its vision.
American Management Association (AMA) is globally recognized as a leader in professional development. For nearly 100 years, it has helped millions of people bring about positive change in their performance in order to improve results. AMA’s learn-by-doing instructor-led methods, extensive content, and flexible learning formats are proven effective—and constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of individuals and organizations. To learn more, visit www.amanet.org.