When to revisit your strategy

When to revisit your strategy

THE purpose of a corporate strategy is to acquire customers and outwit the competition. If you don’t review your strategy frequently you might find that you are busy concentrating on irrelevant issues which the customer no longer values.

It’s therefore important to keep the strategic document live by constantly reviewing how the organisation is doing in relation to its strategic plan. But when should you review the strategy? Is it quarterly or every three years that the strategy should be reviewed and updated? Some of the factors discussed below should help in triggering the process of relooking or reviewing the strategy.

When you are crafting a strategy you usually make a number of assumptions and estimates but as we know reality is not always the same as your estimates – what you planned might be very far from reality. You will therefore need, in such instances, to adjust your strategy in line with reality. Failure to modify the strategy at the right time can spell disaster for an organisation.

If you have achieved the goals that you had set up during the strategic plan process or the goals have completely changed, then you need to go back to the drawing board and relook at the strategy. Goals are what the organisation is trying to achieve, and the strategy is how you’re going to achieve them, so a change in goals calls for a change in the strategy.

If the goals have been met you need to change the strategy because the purpose of that strategy has been achieved. In some cases the competitive landscape might have shifted from the originally envisaged one and this will call for a revision of the goals and therefore the strategy.

The objective of a business is to serve its customers. For a business to survive, it needs to keep its pulse on the customer’s needs. Customers’ needs are constantly evolving. The use of letters for communication has been replaced by social media which is instant. If as an organisation you don’t monitor such changes in customer trends your company might still be concentrating on customers’ needs that are outdated.
Post Offices will soon be extinct if they don’t evolve with changes in customers’ needs. Business leaders therefore need to change their strategies so that they are able to meet the emerging needs of their customers.
The market is changing rapidly because of technological changes. New inventions and innovations in technology have disrupted how things used to be done. If you consider AirBnB, you no longer need to own hotels for you to provide accommodation. The use of technology has changed the way things are done in the hospitality industry.

Innovation has changed a number of markets by creating new value propositions for customers. Technological innovations might impact on service provision, on marketing, or on processes. Some of these changes might be minor but others could be earth shattering. However in both cases there will be a need to modify the strategy to ensure survival of the organisation.

Sometimes competitors will introduce a product that will change the way the industry provides value to its customers. The competition can alter the perceived value of an offering through marketing campaigns, social media, or other tactics. As a business that is always monitoring the environment, certain changes to the strategy will need to be done if competition has changed the perceived value of a product.

During the SWOT analysis as an organisation you go through the process of analysing the capabilities that you possess vis a vis your competitors. To be a step ahead of the competition you need to regularly carry out a review of these capabilities to determine whether they have significantly grown, in which case you will need new strategies to capitalise on these strengths and increase profits.
However if the capabilities have declined, you will have to come up with new strategies to neutralize any threatening initiatives from competitors.
A change in the Board or the CEO might call for a review of the strategy. The new board or the newly appointed CEO will need to go through the current strategy and make necessary changes to it so that he/she will be able to meet the mandate.

Strategic review is not an annual event or has to be done only after the expiration of the period of the strategic plan. With the uncertainty in the environment and the changes resulting from technological, political, social or legal factors, it will be very important to align the current strategies to the environment.

Any environmental changes should act as triggers to initiate a review of your strategy. If however there has not been any changes during the life of the strategic plan you would still need to review the strategy after the life of the strategic plan. A strategic plan, is not cast in stone, it’s a living document that needs to be referred to and be modified when necessary so that it remains relevant.

Stewart Jakarasi is a business & financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management.
l For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com or +266 58881062 or on WhatsApp +266 62110062

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