Here’s a dumb question – do you have infinite time and resources? Not being a Time Lord, I suspect your answer is ‘no’. And because we don’t have an infinite amount of either of those things, we have to make choices.
In business, that means we have to decide what it is we’re not going to do as much as what it is we are going to do – we have to prioritise.
In my last post I outlined the need to create a clearly defined strategic destination to aim your business at. A destination that will take your business to another level and that represents a major milestone on the road to reaching your vision.
Having identified and defined that destination, you need to map out the route to take.
Chances are that there will be a number of routes you can take but you cannot of course take multiple routes and so you have to pick one. The route you need to choose is of course the one that has the highest chance of success and that takes into account where you are now.
Once you have chosen the best route you need to identify the key actions that you need to take. These are your Strategic Priorities.
This route is like a motorway with a number of lanes and branches leaving and joining it. Your strategic priorities are the key strategic paths (lanes, exits, entrances) that you are going to take in order to reach your strategic destination.
For example, if you have one care home and your strategic destination is to have double the number of clients you currently look after, you could decide to build a new care home, buy one that has failed, or, you may have room and could get planning permission, to build a new wing or a new storey on the existing care home.
Let’s say the route you are going to take is to build a new wing. One lane (strategic priority) is the new build itself, broken down into its own complex project. At some point along the route that build will be complete and that priority exit off the motorway.
You may require an organisation re-structure, new management positions and will require recruitment of floor staff. This is another lane (strategic priority) that will join your motorway before the build is complete.
You may wish for the new wing to specialise, what will that take regarding the building features and equipment, people and training? What relationships do you need to build with referrers? What marketing will you need to have ready? What fee structures will you need and how will you ensure you get them from councils and CCGs who will want to pay you a lot less than you need?
All of these (and more) make up a set of strategic priorities that will define the focus thrust for your strategy that will result in the desired outcome. They help you stay focused on doing what’s necessary to meet your targets and not be distracted and driven off course by shiny objects.
Once you have set your strategic destination and identified your strategic priorities it is vital that you stick to them and not get distracted by shiny, opportunistic objects that, if pursued, will most likely pull your business off course and away from the important strategic destination you have set.
Your strategic priorities will help you use the time and resources you have most effectively. It will keep you focused on what you need to do and help you ignore what you don’t.