Through dozens of workshops and engagements each year, Avenue works with mid-size B2B organizations to help them define, articulate, and communicate their strategy.
In many cases, leadership believes it has a clear strategic plan—and it is understood throughout the organization. However, it often becomes apparent that their strategy isn’t clearly articulated. This inevitably results in a leadership team interpreting the strategy inconsistently, and employees not understanding it or not even being aware that a formal strategy exists. In the worst cases, it leads to Organizational Swirl.
A clearly defined strategy guides the actions and behaviors of an organization and enables the leadership team and employees to make the right decisions that further your strategic goal. An outstanding example is the strategy of the financial services firm, Edward Jones, cited by The Harvard Business Review in an article titled “Can you say what your strategy is?”
In the early-2000s, Edward Jones summarized its strategy in this simple statement: “To grow to 17,000 financial advisers by 2012 by offering trusted and convenient face-to-face financial advice to conservative individual investors who delegate their financial decisions, through a national network of one-financial-adviser offices.”
Ten months later, The Wall Street Journal stated, “Whereas other securities firms are shrinking [during the historic 2008 recession], Edward Jones and its 12,000-broker force has added 998 brokers this year. It plans to add another 5,000 by 2012, according to Jim Weddle, the firm’s chief executive.”
Is it coincidental that Edward Jones—guided by a clearly stated strategy, and presumably led by a focused leadership team and employee base—experienced growth in the midst of the worst stock market since the 1930s, while most other firms experienced just the opposite?
Taking the time to define and clearly communicate your strategy will help align and elevate the performance of any B2B organization.