10 strategic decisions for 2017.

With the Year of the Fire Rooster just weeks out, you may be elbow-deep in strategic decision making & recalibration (at least, you will if you’re any chance of making the most of your non-refundable 365-day stake.)

Beyond the stock standard strategy choice buckets, here are 10 strategy decisions I think you’d do well to mull & make if you’re to make great headway on fulfilling your Purpose.

1.    Extro-systems vs intro-preneurship.

If you’re an extroverted individual or entity – a thrive-in-company, better-together body with bravado - then are you gearing to supplement your in-public play and processing with some quieter, reflective, behind-closed-door data-driven mechanisms? 

If you’re a shy guy, gal or group – one that does better in quiet, thinking through and deriving energy in peace away from others – then are you putting in place any comfort-stretching actions that expose, test and iterate under the imperfect fingerprints of others to improve that which you’d otherwise leave in your navel to contemplate?

If you’re inherently out there and make big calls amidst the chaos, will you choose to back up your brash with some cool-room considered systems that free you up to shake and kiss? If you’re a wallflower that hums when pontificating, will you decide to get just that little more daring with some select public exposures (and let more benefit from your rumination)? 

Sure, it's a fool that tries to change (or doesn't play to) their inherent strengths (you won’t anyway), but I'd suggest you can make some strategic calls to ensure it isn't your rate limit.

2.    Loud’n’proud in a crowd vs let them discover you quietly. 

There’s plenty of opportunity to make noise about your value proposition, from paid placements to plugging yourself on platforms like this one. The question is – which way might better fit how you want your brand and the solution it represents to enter your VIPs psyche? Is it through repeated exposure and manicured, extrinsically-controlled comms? Or is it by enabling them to discover your magic more subtley, more organically? Both carry upsides and risk – the question is, which resonant memory and feeling do you want people to have associated with your brand, and which path is more likely to deliver it (and the actions you need it to give rise to)?

3.    Culturally aligned vs the merits of opposition. 

Will your organisation be better served in the year ahead seeking out the like-minded, similarly-valued? Or will active exposure to polar opposites challenge you to rethink, or maybe double-down on your differentiators? Be it staff members, suppliers, clients or network partners, think through the relative upsides and fit of expanding the crew to encompass a greater diversity of worldviews and motivators, or alternatively by staying in your lane and deepening the depth of a given mental mould and mates.

4.    Owning the niche vs being the bridge. Will 2017 be about extending the gap between what Jo Public or Kym Competitor can do, and what youderive a dollar from? Or will it be about developing rope ladders and gangplanks to enable more aboard a ship where you’re Chief Games Director? Consider whether employing breakneck speed to build daylight from others and owning a tight channel is a better play for you than being an enabler of masses to take part in your party.

5.    Top down vs middle around. Is the Purpose, Vision, Values, Strategic Priorities and Goals of your bus something you think can, should, must be set by the primary dividend recipients? Or is there more to be gained by bringing in the links between coalface experience and organisational governers to play a vital role in higher-order decision making? One approach marries ultimate responsibility with key choices, the other informs more broadly from a practical vantage point. Which will give you greater clarity, certainty, stability or ownership this year and beyond?

6.    Quality thinking vs quality output. What’s going to be more important for your team this year – breaking the model, bolder ideas, nurturing an environment of smart imaginers? Or generating the calibre, the cash and the graph growth? Factor in where you are in your lifecycle, what your market segment is doing, and your risk of being gazumped by gallopers or just-getting-started-ers. Choose development or delivery as your priority play.

7.    Clearing today’s table vs playing the long tail. There’s a case to be made for asking for every available coin from the wallets of the beneficiaries of your help in the year ahead, and there’s another for leaving a little salt on the bread when there’s a bigger or longer-term payoff should you choose to play for it. One will have a greater long-term impact on what you’re looking for as a crew. For you, which?

8.    Who gets the VIP badges? The leadership thinking turnstile has shifted from a pureplay “customer is king” mantra to an increasingly pervasive attitude of “our staff are most important”. You get to choose. Who’ll get more love from you this year? Who needs prioritizing, emphasizing, focusing on for delight and retention and leveraging? Yes, we get that both are IPs. There are, in reality, only so many VIP badges… who will your higher order decision making filters nudge you to hand them to?

9.    Austerity mindsets vs generosity epithets. The fin controller will appreciate you carving fat and consolidating and keeping costs, well, controlled. The sales camp will indubitably ask you to give, gift, encourage and invite more onboard for the many-expenses-paid party that is a key to spenders sticking close. One will have a nose in front for your entity, for the year ahead. Which gets the weighting? Which will pay more for now and for longer?

10. Champion, create, curate or cull? There are those that make coin promoting the work of others. There are those that build and add new to the world. There are those that herd the cats and select the concentrate for discerning crowds. And there are those that remove from your plate that which just gets in your way, annoys or frustrates. Your business, your professional approach, can give Oxygen to one or more of these strategic activity sets. Which one dominates and fits best?

Your 2017 – its processes, its outcomes and how much you love it – will be more a function of your choices (and how you hold to or bend from them) than it will be a result of what gets served up to you. Pick your paths. Be strategic. Own what you’ll do.

If you need a hand, we'll help.