Unformatted text preview: of bringing people into the discussion. Implementation is much
more likely when managers contribute to the plan. They understand the background and they feel like
the plan reﬂects their input.
So use the SWOT both ways — use it to catalyze team commitment and to develop strategy. Make Strategic Choices
One of the hardest things business owners and operators do is deciding not to do something. It’s
the art of saying no. Particularly for a growing business, the difference between strategy and chaos is
knowing when and how to say no.
This is against the background of the fact that Strategy is Focus. Most growing companies want to do
far more than they can effectively do. Bright managers want to seize every opportunity in sight, and
all at the same time. In the real world, however, displacement is a fact of life. Everything you do in a
business rules out something else that you can’t do as a result. To grow your business you must focus
on well-deﬁned target markets, well-deﬁned products and services, building competitive advantage,
capitalizing on your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses.
Yes, all of that seems obvious, and the best strategies are obvious. They come straight from the SWOT.
They are maintained over the long term, meaning several years. Successful strategies will be copied by
competitors. Better a mediocre strategy consistently applied over several years than a series of brilliant
strategies pushed one after the other.
All of which makes focus the key to effective growth strategies. And, furthermore, focus means
exercising discipline in management, not trying to do everything. Create Commitment
There’s an old joke about commitment, deﬁning the difference between commitment and
involvement in breakfast: the chicken is involved, the pig is committed.
In business planning processes, commitment is essential. Plans need to be implemented, and
implementation means commitment. There has to be accountability, and peer pressure. You have to
follow up on what was planned to make sure that it was actually carried out. Here are some ways to
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