In sports, a coach will often stress the importance of mastering key fundamentals for success. Depending on the sport, fundamentals such as proper footwork, pass and catch techniques, and offensive and defensive strategies can be critical for athletes. As Michael Jordan once said, “an individual can have all the physical ability in the world, but will still have to know the fundamentals.”
Fundamentals are as critical for athletes in sports as they are for executives in the business world. This is especially true in today’s difficult economic environment, where executives are scrounging for successful business strategies that leverage new technologies to drive organizational performance, while taking into account the impact these will have on the culture of their organization.
To some executives, mastering key fundamentals, such as having a solid business strategy, with a keen focus on creating a positive organizational culture, may seem rudimentary. However, just “having the knowledge of such basics is not enough”, as stated by Charles Mudd, Principal at Mudd & Associates, Ltd., a leading management and consulting technology firm in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
“Organizations not only need to have and implement effective business strategies, they also need to have a certain level of business acumen to make sound judgments that drive results, especially when it comes to recognizing various cultures and the impact these cultures can have on the strategic direction of a firm,” said Charles.
Because there isn’t a one strategy that can fit all approaches for organizations to employ, executives must take proper steps in designing, implementing and executing a business strategy that is unique to their firm. Regardless of the industry that a company serves, or the products or services they sell, having a strategy for success is a universal necessity.
According to Charles, “I have a lot of experience working with clients in the public and private sectors. Although the two sides can be vastly different in how they operate — as the private industry can be more instant gratification, while the public sector can require a more rigorous learning of all the rules – I often find that many businesses lack a clear and robust strategy, or plan of attack. Ultimately, this can be a significant problem for organizations which needs to be addressed.”
When creating a strategy for success, it’s also imperative that executives be patient while looking at the big picture and keeping focused on strategy implementation from month to month to really achieve desired results. It is not enough to just develop a strategy; executives must drive it into the organization on a daily basis and measure the progress and results monthly to be truly successful.
Also, results don’t come immediately, and it can be difficult for executives to focus on the long term when the daily struggles of the job take center stage. This is especially important as executive’s grow the organization and prepare for transformation in rapidly changing markets.
“While having and implementing a solid plan of action that drives results can be difficult as success typically doesn’t happen overnight, it’s imperative for executives to continue to focus on the end game for success, which may require some day-to-day blocking and tackling on the front line,” said Charles.
Finally, when creating a strategy for success that ends in external growth strategies, such as mergers or acquisitions, it’s important to take the culture of the organizations into account. Shaping an organizations culture to be one that is supportive of the organization and the change that is experienced is critical to success.
If there is not a focus on shaping the organizational culture, then the culture will be shaped by other personnel and events. This is not necessarily a positive one that will be supportive of growth and change needed to grow and be competitive in the marketplace.
According to Charles, “…it’s extremely vital for organizations to take into account the various cultures and its impact on the overall strategy. There certainly is no logic in combining vastly different cultures and expect to succeed. I’ve seen external growth strategies, like M&A deals, fail because of this since differing cultures were not heavily factored in the strategic plan, which ultimately had a negative impact with how these companies integrated their product and service offerings. The Time Warner/AOL and Daimler Benz/Chrysler mergers stand out as good examples when it comes to this issue.”
Ultimately, there are several factors for organization’s to consider as part of their overall strategy for success. And the organization’s that master the key fundamentals of designing, implementing and executing sound business strategies, driving the strategy into the organization each month with continuous change -with a close eye on creating a positive culture for such change, can set themselves up for success and be a leader in their industry.