Effective Business Strategies for your Project - Embrace Innovation

Posted on 02/28/2017 at 02:35 PM by Shannon Hoyle

Embrace innovation; build a strategy based on objectives and tactics.

This is easier said than done.  Human beings are naturally content with maintaining a status quo.  In business, this has led to monumental miscalculation and catastrophic failure.  To enhance personal and organizational innovation it is necessary to create a formal structure (strategy) on how to do so; add to this what you want to accomplish (objectives) and how you are going to make it a reality (tactics).

One approach is best defined by an observation from Peter Blaber in his book The Mission The men and Me: Confessions of a Former Delta Force Commander.  Almost Zen-like in its simplicity, but so easily overlooked, Blaber says, "Patterns of thinking, patterns of decision-making, and patterns of history.  Once you recognize the patterns that inform the behavior of your enemy, you can adapt to them, and your enemy is toast."

It’s not much of a stretch to see that in business “your enemy” are the things that cost you success and profit.

In this strategy, one can look at internal patterns of behavior and how they influence your project or organization.  This is everything that could be wrong on your end of things.  This could be employee morale and their ability to contribute to efficiency, communicate within teams, and how internal power struggles create critical communication choke points.  Or perhaps the operation has serious problems resulting from internal behavior patterns that impact customers (marketing and customer service).

After an internal self-analysis it is time to look outside.  One can then look at “external patterns of behavior” completely separate from your operation, and how do they send tremors through the market?  How do these factors influence the direction, strengths or weaknesses of the competition.   For example:  What are the go/no-go decision switches at critical junctures within a distribution value-chain?  Are there ways to anticipate them and ways ensure positive outcomes?  What are the decision triggers that compel end-users to spend their money for your offering and not the competition’s product?  

Blaber mentions, “patterns of history,” don’t forget the historical performance of your market and the external factors that influence important trends.  How does your competition react to changes in the market?  How do your customers react to supply/demand and price issues?

You can then put it all together.  The result is essentially a very detailed SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) assessment.  You now have an internal strengths/weaknesses and opportunities assessment; an external strengths/weaknesses and threats by the competition assessment; and an insightful opportunities assessment that takes into account historical market trends.

To now embrace innovation and build a strategy based on what we have learned for our internal and external analysis, we need to understand our project with respect to our limitations, the picture of our competition and our customers.  The final step in this strategy taking what you see and using it to prioritize what you want to accomplish (objectives) and the concrete actions that you are going to undertake to make them a reality (tactics).

Editor's Note: "Effective Business Strategies for your Project: Embrace Innovation" is part three of a four part series written by Dan Burden, AgMRC Program Specialist. View part one, and part two.

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