Inspiration comes in many ways, but it doesn’t always come easily. Sure there are those flashes of motivation that can come when the moments line up just right, but this is about maintaining inspiration to fuel a journey that is often needed for keeping strategic direction.
One of the common challenges to executing a strategic direction is that it may not feel applicable or relevant to what is happening now. If this is the case, then there are three things to do before your next quarterly meeting or annual retreat to galvanize your team around what matters most to strategically succeed:
- Find a New Competitor: Even when everything is running perfectly, there is always untapped potential on the horizon. Competitors are a continuous external research project. Make it a point to find an organization that is targeting your market niche and visit their website once a week or month. It takes ten seconds to see if you need to up your game. Keep track and flag anything that might impact the direction of your strategic efforts in play.
- Talk About Industry Trends: There is no lack of refreshing, insightful things that are happening in the world. Trends should be part of the material that goes into building those long-term strategic objectives. Defining how trends might impact an organization requires multiple viewpoints before anything is actualized. It is the power of conversation that determines what is a relevant trend and what is not worth the chase. So find ways to reference what looks to be coming over the horizon around the water cooler or before meetings.
- Always Listen to The Customer: Never forget to remind yourself why customers come to your company or organization, and then make that something that drives everyone’s work forward on a continual basis. If you find obstacles in the process, capture them no matter who “owns” the infraction. This is golden knowledge that is most certainly needed during quarterly reviews and strategic retreats.
Now none of the above has to be a heavily resourced effort, although having a customer outreach system in place is highly valuable. Every single person can look at their work and find something that can or must be done better in the near future. Trick is to think about these improvements strategically and in the context of what the market demands.
At the minimum, pull this kind of thinking into the strategic reviews and dialogues you have with your peers and management stakeholders. If your strategic plan feels “off,” then do what you need to do to put it on the right track. Many times this can be done without derailing the larger overall objectives.
What fuels your inspiration?