Do your strengths make you strong?

Lots and lots of sticky notes.

Analyzing and understanding your organization’s strengths and weaknesses is a continual process for most business leaders. Do your strengths make you strong? It’s an ingrained trait, necessary for survival. In many organizations, this process is formalized and memorialized at the dreaded Off-Site Meeting. To most of us, a perfectly good Saturday would only be worse if…wait, there is no worse way to spend a perfectly good Saturday.

A standard agenda item for this ritual is the SWOT analysis.  You’ve probably participated in this exercise. It requires a flip chart, dry markers, and sticky notes.  Lots and lots of sticky notes. So let’s get started by asking, do your strengths make you strong?

Companies compete in a variety of ways.  Over time they develop a set of core competencies that define and govern their actions and enable them to separate themselves from the pack.  The challenge is that organizations can’t afford to be great at everything, and they have no choice but to make compromises. Hopefully, those compromises are informed by a robust strategy that can accommodate changes in market dynamics and buying behaviors.

Being aware of the cost of these tradeoffs, financial or otherwise often gets lost in the day-to-day battles of growing a business.  A few examples:

We’re getting the details right

No doubt, execution is where the rubber meets the road. However, are you spending time working on the business, not just in the business? Great business leaders are adept at both.

We are focused on our business strategy

Terrific.  If you follow Black Ice, you have a sense of the importance we place on strategy.  But subordinating execution to strategy is a recipe for disaster.

We run the business by the numbers

‘The numbers’ are how we keep score.  The numbers validate and value decisions made on a daily basis.  But the numbers are outcomes, the result of a variety of factors.  One of the inputs to great numbers is a great culture. Good luck If your draconian operating mentality causes high turnover and poor morale.

We always ship on time

We all expect immediate gratification, often in the form of ‘getting my stuff tomorrow.’ That’s great, but if your incentives plans prioritize shipping on time over shipping the ‘right stuff’ on time, your returns will increase.

How you spend your Saturdays is up to you.  But regardless of your approach to leveraging strengths and mitigating weaknesses, be sure to hold up a mirror to both.

At Black Ice Strategies we work with you to build and market your business, to achieve the goals that your enterprise aspires to accomplish.  We’d like to learn more about your business, and how we can help. Drop us a line at