Let’s try an exercise: Think back on your greatest accomplishments in life — what did they have in common? While you could have experienced sheer luck of circumstance, it’s more likely you started with a mission, made some decisions based on that mission, and carried out an actionable plan.
You might not have realized it at the time, but you used an organizational strategy to get what you want. In the business world, organizational strategies are critical to ensuring a smooth path to success — especially when your team is involved in many projects across various departments.
We’ll walk you through what an organizational strategy is, why it’s important, and how to implement one for your business.
What is an organizational strategy?
An organizational strategy is essentially a roadmap to how you’ll achieve your goals. It's a long-term plan often laid out by leadership teams that determines how your business will allocate resources like funding, time, and inventory to support business activities, including but not limited to:
- Infrastructure support
- Brand marketing
- Ensuring you meet market demand
Organizational strategies help you manage projects across your team because they provide a better understanding of resource needs. They also help you make better decisions on where those resources are actually going. By using this tactic to ensure your team has the right amount of funds, the necessary tools, and enough time, you’ll be able to easily keep your projects on track.
Why are organizational strategies important?
Your team’s mission may be clear and powerful and drive the direction of your focus, but that simple statement probably doesn’t lay out how to get there — that’s where an organizational strategy comes in. Project managers rely on them for a variety of reasons, including:
- Better resource allocation: There are only so many hours in the day, and odds are your funding is not unlimited. Ensuring you’re making the right decisions in where these crucial resources go will help your team meet goals and keep projects on track.
- Setting direction: If your team is working towards one common goal, it’s much easier to achieve it. Setting the right path and clearly defining desired outcomes with an organizational strategy helps your team achieve better results.
- Simple decision-making: Organizational strategies include answers to many important decisions before the what-ifs become bottlenecks. With predefined goals, it’s easy to make decisions by going in the direction that supports them.
What should an organizational strategy look like?
When developing your own organizational strategy, be sure it has the following key features.
While optimism is an important characteristic to have in business, don’t set unrealistic expectations. For example, if your annual profit was around $100,000 for the last few years, it might not be a good idea to set your sights toward making $1,000,000 next year.
Create smaller goals to reach your ultimate mission incrementally to avoid imposing unattainable expectations on your team.
It’s great to want to improve your marketing efforts or boost brand awareness, but simply wanting to “do better” isn’t a goal that you can concretely work towards. You need some quantitative indicators to measure how you’re getting there. Set up goals with measurable outcomes to back them up.
You’ve got your list of projects that are all working toward your mission, which is great! But simply listing them out and hoping for the best can lead to things falling between the cracks. Set parameters that dictate what everyone does and when they need to do it.
How to build an organizational strategy
As you start to build an organizational strategy for your business, first break it down into the following three separate categories, each a building block for the strategy as a whole.
- Corporate level strategy: The primary purpose of your company.
- Business-level organizational strategy: Actionable steps on how to achieve that purpose.
- Functional-level organizational strategy: Step-by-step tasks and day-to-day functions you’ll need to achieve the goal, with detailed resource allocation information.
The most important thing is to take your time and understand that the ultimate goal should be realistic based on your organization’s current status. Remember to figure out how to measure your results.
For your strategy to be most effective, it’s best to make small changes your team can adapt to easily instead of sweeping modifications that can prove challenging. Additionally, your team will need support with the right tools, resources, and any additional training for the new objectives included in the organizational strategy.