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Organizations Need a “Competitive” Strategic Plan in Today’s Digital Economy

Darwin's_finches_by_Gould

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change. – Charles Darwin

During my several decades of consulting with clients in a multitude of markets, I almost invariably have found that those organizations who are in greatest need of changing their approach to being competitive, profitable, and successful, are those in need of creating and developing a Strategic Plan.  Rarely have I encountered a successful company that is capable of sustaining growth without one.  Should those rare companies be lucky enough to be in that situation, I have found that to a large extent, they are in the embryonic or relatively early growth stages. For those “other” and similar organizations facing those hurdles I have earlier referred to, and which I have greatly enjoyed helping to create a workable plan, I propose here to offer my findings of those elements which have usually been neglected within their existing “game plan” for growth.

The most frequent area of concern which I find most of these organizations facing, is an inadequate and occasionally almost non-existent RECENT understanding of the true nature of the competition & THE COMPETITIVE MARKET POSITION within which they CURRENTLY compete.  When we encounter this, at out first opportunity, we insist that they create and develop a new and definitive profile of their market and competitor environment as it currently exists, rather than rely upon initial understandings and considerations originally employed when entering their chosen market.

Things change rapidly in today’s Digital Economy!  “Traditional” requirements necessary to be competitive are of questionable value in an environment that now allows the customer / client to have much greater control to make choices regarding the product and services they seek through internet search capability.  Customers / Clients today relish their overwhelming ability to compare available products, pricing, quality, “reviews” of company reputation, and responsibilities toward social and environmental issues, etc..  The most critical factor, however, is that market competitors have exactly the same ability via the internet to “scout” competitor strategies and approaches to gain market share as well.

We do not discount those many additional areas in which organizations may find themselves lacking, including loss of focus, necessary changes in management competencies, distribution and partnering opportunities, cost-reducing technology, out-dated or now irrelevant product offerings, etc..  But a lack of awareness and involvement in the essential need to take more seriously today’s requirements to be competitive brought on by internet exposure is critical to growth.  No longer is it possible to gain continued and future success in the absence of a Strategic Plan which clearly outlines an organizational approach to compete based upon a productive understanding of competitor efforts and associated customer / client needs and capabilities.

Creating an effective plan will normally require a somewhat dynamic change in organizational thinking, and sometimes, direction, but is far from an insurmountable mountain to climb.  In reality, and much more often, the unifying “team” effort required for plan implementation creates greatly improved company spirit, morale and challenge for employees, equaling PLAN SUCCESS!!!

About Anthony Gable

Anthony Gable, MBA, owner of Echelon Associates, is a Strategic Planning Specialist. He has been advising individual owners, executives, and profit-center (SBU) heads and their teams on the strategic planning process since 1983. Prior to that, he gained management experience from years of wide-reaching exposure in the corporate sector as a manager and executive. You can view his documents on Strategic Planning here.

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