In the end, you must ‘make things happen’ to be successful.
Developing a sound strategy is not only fun, but, if done right, gives your company purpose. When you think of strategy, think in terms of how you are going to execute your vision and mission. Up to this point, we have been working on the theoretical company, or, in other words, the company you want to build. Strategy is the key to actually making the company do something. Remember that nothing is accomplished unless someone does something, which is where strategy becomes vitally important. One of our company’s core fundamentals is, “Execution: Take a plan and put wheels on it.” This helps everyone to understand that we must execute our strategy if we are going to continue to grow our company.
Keep these basic principles in mind as you start developing a strategy:
1. Your strategy is what will tie action to your vision and mission.
2. Your strategy must answer the question of “How are we going to do it?”
3. With the right strategy in place, you should be able to walk up to any employee and say “I need you to do ______.” Your strategy should be clear, concise, and simple enough so all of your employees know what to do and what you expect out of them.
So let’s revisit the Vision and Mission from our last two articles before we move forward and tie them in to an effective strategy.
Vision: “We want to be the largest and best service provider in our city.”
Mission: “Our company will provide the best heating and air conditioning service to our customers.”
In our example company, we have clearly identified that we want to be the biggest and provide the best service, so let’s tie our vision and mission into a clear and concise strategy.
First, let’s walk through some basic realities of being the best and the biggest.
1. In order to be the biggest, you have to have the most technicians. In order to have the most technicians, you have to have the most service agreements. We all know that you can’t have a large service department running only demand service calls.
2. Knowing that you have to have the most service agreements in order to be the biggest, you have to offer your customers service agreements. Many will argue the point of offering only one agreement while others say you have to offer two or three different agreements, such as a tiered approach of Good, Better, Best. The fact of the matter is that you have to offer agreements as a part of your strategy if this is your vision.
Using our example vision and mission, a clear strategy would be, “We will offer all of our customers a service agreement.” By simply answering a couple of underlying questions, your strategy becomes rather obvious. Again, many companies try to get fancy with their strategy and it loses its effectiveness because it isn’t clear to your employees. You want a practical application for your leadership team to incorporate into weekly meetings, measure the effectiveness and results, etc. This example also keeps in balance the three keys to an effective vision. The company wins by building a larger and more repeatable base of customers. The employees win because with the growth of this service agreement base, they have built in hours for the slower times, security, and an opportunity for advancement as the company continues to grow. Lastly, and quite honestly most importantly, your customer wins. Your customer will now be working with a company that has focus and purpose —your mission! In the end, the customer becomes your mission statement.
Now that we have created a very clear and concise vision, mission and strategy, your company will become much more purpose-driven. Your leadership team will know the direction. Your employees will know how to move the company forward.
For more on this topic, read:
3 Key steps to creating a vision statement
Four steps to developing an effective mission statement
Wade Mayfield is President of Thermal Services, Inc., Omaha, NE., an hvacr firm with over 100 employees serving the commercial and residential market. Wade is both a student and practitioner of the management skills necessary to sustain company growth, empower managers and employees and build a wealth of happy and satisfied customers. This series shares some of the basic practices of Wade’s management philosophy. Wade was also recently elected to the board of directors for the North American Technician’s Excellence Association (NATE).