As business owners, are there situations where you "feel" like there is a problem in your organisation but you cannot seem to pin-point what is the exact issue? Are you finding it difficult to articulate some of the challenges that your business may be facing? In order to make the process easier, we came up with a simple guide to categorise most of the issues that businesses face into 6 different gaps, 3 each on the Strategic/Implementation front.
1) Gap in Corporate Identity
This is typically defined as a lack of clarity and alignment in Corporate Identity (Mission, Vision and Values). Businesses are often focused on the "What" and "How" part but do not recognise the need and importance to "Start with WHY".
Symptoms: High staff turnover, weak brand identity, lack of results in marketing efforts
2) Gap in Management Expectations and Objectives
It is common for differing ideals and directions to exist within the management team. It is also the norm for these differences to be swept under the carpet until conflicts start to arise. More often than not, when directions and expectations for the business are not aligned, it will cascade into downstream execution issues (i.e. operations & marketing).
Symptoms: Boardroom disagreements, different factions existing within organisation, lack of motivation from staff
3) Gap in Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is an exercise that should cover two aspects (i.e. coherence in leadership direction as well as clarity across various business functions). Most organisations are focused on just delivering the "top-down" directions/instructions, creating strategy and action plans that are meant for execution. However, there may be a tendency for organisations to neglect the fact that the overall objectives of every business functions (Human Resource, Marketing, Finance) needs to be aligned with the overall business strategy or company’s vision.
Symptoms: Confusion over allocation of resources, rise of "office politics", lack of synergy in each function
4) Gap in Processes and Execution
Functions or activities are not well managed or executed. Resources are being deployed but little or no results are seen. Usually, this could largely be a situation where there is a lack of structure and/or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in creating an efficient system.
Symptoms: Inefficient use of resources, confusion over key processes
5) Gap in Expectations and Communications
This is a two-fold issue. 1) Lack of clarity in the end goal the organisation would like to achieve 2) Lack of communication across the organisation to achieve an outcome. Such a gap could be observed in situations where expectations and scope of projects/campaigns are not well communicated to staff or vendors.
Symptoms: Disputes over KPIs and outcome of project/engagement, confusion over final outcome required
6) Gap in Knowledge/Expertise
This is a common scenario among SMEs where growth could be hampered due to a lack of subject matter knowledge or internal capabilities in a particular area. It could also be a situation where information and knowledge are not being retained within the organisation due to employee turnover.
Symptoms: Projected timelines busted, project/campaign budget busted due to frequent engagement of outsourcing partners
Through our past engagements, we have observed that some of these identified gaps may be the stumbling block for businesses to grow. For companies to grow and scale up successfully, there has to be an alignment and synergy across both the strategic and implementation fronts.
Using a common example of planning and executing a marketing campaign, such an activity would require the company’s processes (e.g. graphic designing, content development, copywriting) to be aligned with its delivery (e.g. identifying the right channels). In order to ensure that both the processes and delivery are seamless and effective, the team would have to ensure that the entire campaign is aligned with the company’s brand/marketing strategy, corporate vision and identity.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and it does not identify every single problem your organisation may face or is currently facing. We hope that this short write-up has helped to better frame your perspective and provide some clarity to the areas where gaps may exist in your business.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help in the process of planning and solving business problems, do sign up for our Business Strategy Workshop. This workshop will help to provide clarity in the challenges that your business is currently facing (on both the strategic and implementation front) and identify practical steps and solutions to better position it for growth.