Business Strategy Navigation – Part 4

Set Objectives

Having adequately assessed the present, embark on the adventure of the future. The most unpredictable and chaotic market environment is navigable with skill and control. A clear vision of your ideal future allows for well-defined, progressive movement.

The elements of a proactive future focus are simple:

  • In general terms, the purpose of any business is to satisfy its stakeholders (this group includes shareholders, customers, executives/ partners, and the community).
  • Your business’ mission is its objective goal, the peak toward which you propel yourself. A mission may be purely financial (“we will achieve billion-dollar annual sales”), product-oriented (“we will develop the most fuel-efficient compact car on the market”), or customer-focused (“we will attain 99% customer retention”). If purpose is your reason for existing in your eyes, mission is your reason for existing in consumers’ eyes.
  • A vision is exactly as it sounds: a mental picture of the way your business will look, feel, and appear once you have fulfilled your mission.

A caveat: Though definition of these terms is necessary, the key to successful navigation of an unpredictable environment is adaptability. Vision can easily change since, as part of the system, it is largely subject to the whims of the environment. According to the Columbia School of Business, strategy should actually serve to “build flexibility into your system…some way of keeping uncertainty alive and kicking.”[i] This requires creativity: the vision must entail and encourage originality.

Next Time We’ll begin part one of “The Ride: The future Trends and Strategy.”

  1. [i] Lawrence M. Fisher, “The State of Strategy, 2001,” strategy + business Online (1Q 2001).

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