Are you guilty of being caught up in the reactive chain?

In sport, it comes down to today’s result. A teams’ success hinges on the total points, wickets, runs or goals scored on any given day. But how do you effectively give yourself the best chance of winning now, and ensuring you’re in the best possible position for next season and beyond?

The answer to this lies in having a clear vision and strategy, and this is no different in business.

Many sports teams, just like many businesses get caught up with a total focus on ‘the now’. Being reactive to what is right in front of them, giving themselves little or no space to think about the longer-term future. This could be linked to a phenomenon known as ‘action bias’. Defined as the tendency to think that value can only be realised through doing something, when in actual fact it’s often better to pause and review. In order to effectively review you need to have something to review against, and this is where a documented strategy is invaluable.

So, what does a good strategy look like?

As Ryder Cup Winning Captain Paul McGinley explained at a recent Leaders in Sport Summit, it’s vital to understand the challenges you are trying to overcome. Once you have clarity on this, only then can you begin to build an effective and strategic approach to meeting your objectives. The third and final piece of this is often overlooked – managing the people who are going to deliver this strategy on your behalf.

As McGinley realised, it wasn’t the case of having a strategy to play the American golfers, it was all about having a strategy to effectively play the course. Understanding that this was the challenge that needed to be overcome, it allowed him to strategically position his team members in order to match their strengths against the challenges that the course would throw up.  How often does your business pause to consider verbalising exactly what the challenges are that you currently face, and then strategically aligning your resources in order to maximise your strengths?

Your strategy should be seen as a live document that evolves with your business. You should always take the time to review and update to ensure you continue to progress in the right direction.

Planning the important

Be clear on your purpose and value proposition, your target audience and how you are going to reach them. Have they changed, or has the way in which you need to reach them changed? Stay up to date with the advancements in technology and move with the times. Have a succession plan and invest in your team and resources. Work to your strengths and build on your weaknesses. Remember keep your goals specific and measureable, you can’t review if you have nothing to track against.

If you want to ensure that you’ve not just got total focus on your formation and tactics for the coming weekend’s opponent, but that you are also building for the future by developing your group of young players for next season and beyond, make sure you protect time for some strategic thinking.

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