Many business owners run good businesses and generate some good results. But do they ever wonder how much better the results could be if the company was headed in a clearer direction and the effort of all employees supported that direction?
The direction of a privately owned company needs to be determined by the owner. Setting and managing strategic direction requires leadership. However, it’s not uncommon that the idea of strategic leadership is a bit fuzzy or vague to a practically minded business owner. It doesn’t have to be that way. Strategy can be led in a practical manner by the business owner.
A simple and basic framework for the strategic leadership role for a business owner can be found in the PAGE process that has been created by Vector 17. The PAGE process has the following elements:
- P – Purpose of the company
- A – Analysis of the business
- G – Goals for the business
- E – Energy to achieve the goals
The owner has a critical role in determining the purpose of the company. An owner should consider what the business activities are now, what they could become in the future and some more philosophical questions such as why does the company exist / matter and what difference does the company make in the world. The purpose is the starting point for everything the business should do.
Once the purpose is determined then the owner can turn his / her attention to setting a realistic plan for what to accomplish. This should involve some time spent on some analysis to identify the strengths of the organization, the key success factors in the industry segment and the best opportunities for the business. It helps to be realistic about what resources are available, obstacles that exist and the real impact of competitors, customers and industry factors.
With a purpose and some business analysis done, it’s not that difficult to then set some achievable goals for the business. It’s often best to first set some general long term goals which would create a focus based on the essential success factors for the business. Then it is possible to set some specific short term goals which would move the company the next step toward the long term priorities.