The following is a response to a blog posting by an excellent entrepreneur, David Cummings. His posts are insightful and this particular one is applicable to a primary weakness that entrepreneurs struggle with.
The post is Time for Tactical and Strategic Work
It’s easy to say that CEO entrepreneurs need to be sure they “work ON the business, as well as, work IN the business” but without context, this is just a “what” without a “how”..…
The entrepreneur needs a holistic system of their business that clearly identifies the cause-effect for the functionals (sales, marketing, tech, etc.) and how it aggregates for a consolidated outcome. Like the human body is comprised of many systems that all are contribute to the daily outcomes of that body.
Many years ago, I was faced with a similar problem and we created a Systems of Business that clearly segments the strategic part of a business by functionals with clear integration of the tactics with metrics. As the business grows, the system adapts but the fundamentals and logic stay intact. Using this system allowed our team to understand what is strategic and what is tactical so they can invest their time better and focus energy appropriately. When the strategically designed tactics are being executed, then the strategic outcome is pre-determined. If you don’t define the desired strategic outcome and just execute on tactics, then the outcome can be unknown. Many businesses just “do” every day without a strong understanding of the potential outcome from the conglomeration of many people from many areas of the business all “doing”.
I share this to make the point that you need an approach to the business that makes the denunciation between strategy and tactics clear and purposeful. I see many folks confuse these elements and misunderstand the consequences. Understanding the “cause-effect” relationships is the beginning of applying real strategy to business.
Even with a system, working on the designed strategy is a challenge for many entrepreneurs because it requires discipline to be willing to execute the strategies. They find it easier to become distracted and work harder IN the business in their area of expertise (selling, coding, marketing, etc.).
I think the primary responsibility of the CEO entrepreneur is to manage this process and ensure that the entire team understands the system and use it in their planning and execution. Strategic development is not isolated to the CEO but to the leaders of the functionals with orchestration by the CEO. The CEO is aligning the strategies to the Vision of the company and ensuring the company is leveraging their core competencies.