Is your strategy built on a strong foundation?

What is your Strategic foundation? What are your strategic perspectives and how do they relate to your strategic Foundation? Get a copy of your Strategic plan and open a page that clearly explains your strategic foundation.

If your strategy lacks a clear strategic foundation, chances that a new competitor will push you out of the business are high.

A strategic foundation provides a basis for your competitive advantage. As it is clearly articulated in the Bible, to build a strong house or structure that can withstand a test of time and vagaries of nature, it must be built on a strong foundation. If you want to build a strong house, first establish a very strong foundation. Else the house won’t be able to survive the next strong winds (read competition). Likewise, if you want to formulate a winning and very competitive strategy, take time to first identify your organizational strategic foundation, the hard to copy unique attributes or resources or capabilities in your organization or business that are very difficult to replicate by the competitors.

For example, some organizations like Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) and other similar organizations formed by the Act of Parliament have special mandates to levy a fee from a specific group of people or businesses. UNEB must set national exams and charge exam registration fees.

In that case, the toughest business challenge of revenue generation for any organization is catered for in the Act: any student who sits for national exam MUST pay exam registration fees. Such a legal charge provides assured revenue for the organization.  And there is no other organization or business that can take over the UNEB’s mandate. In such a case, we say UNEB’s strategic foundation is its specific provisions in the UNEB Act that provides for exam fees or other gazette revenue collections. All they have to do is effective management of the affairs of the business. And that includes identifying a strategic foundation so as to optimize it fully and be recognized as the most efficient and well governed organization.

All similar government organizations have such strategic foundations. Where an entity is threatened; it could conduct aggressive lobbying so as to create its own strategic foundation. You have seen lobbyists or specific groups or professions seeking for an Act of parliament so that they may be recognized by law which usually provides for membership and annual fees by members. When that happens, such organization or association can be said to have been strategic.

As you may have noticed, the above scenario cannot work for a private business or organization. So, how do you identify and create a strategic foundation against which your business strategy is anchored?

The answer lies in carefully brainstorming about your unique capabilities- skills, technology, resources, markets, networks and location among others.

Remember, many organizations have these. It is how they are integrated and combined to work together that makes a difference. Before you do this, you must therefore identify your business’s technical insights. Collect accurate facts and data about your business, and the opportunities present and then forecast the future needs and examine how you can mix your capabilities to tap into the opportunities. That will provide you with a great strategic foundation.

In any organization that has succeeded, there are certain attributes that are the secrets to her success. No single resource- money, markets, man power, materials, and machines can make it succeed. It is usually the make-up or the way these other resources are coordinated to strategically fit into each other that makes a difference.

They say, “It doesn’t matter how much resources you have, if you still do not know how to use them, they still will not be enough.”

This above insight is best illustrated by a person who wants to crossover a tall wall. However, the person has so many ladders, which if anyone is properly placed, he would be able to climb easily over the wall and jump one. However, the person lacks the knowledge and ideas to use the resources they have better. Instead, he places the ladder on top of one another in a way that makes climbing over the wall difficult.

You have also seen government institutions with an Act of Parliament but struggling due to lack of adequate finances. That is a tale-tell sign of poor strategy and execution to fully optimize their strategic foundation. Do you know of any such similar entity?

In summary,

  1. Carefully examine your business or organization and those of your competitors. This will give your perspective. Analyze the reasons why your competitors are winning. What is their strategic foundation? What is it that makes them tick? Then carefully, review your organization and determine your own strategic foundation.
  2. Craft a strategy to optimize your strategic foundation. Specifically arrange your capabilities such that no one can easily copy your business. Make this into a model i.e. business model.
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