Use What You Already Have
Or: Paying Less for More Effectiveness
When thinking about strategy, most of us think about adding to what we are currently doing. There is a much better way of going about creating or refining a strategy.
The easiest mistake to make when thinking about a strategy is forgetting how valuable your existing resources are. Whether it is the relationships you have within the industry, organizational direction and buy in, or the skills of your team, there is likely something that you already have access to, but don’t explicitly make use of.
As we enter this new year, many of us go about examining the strategies that we have been using over the past year, and decide what is worth keeping, and what gets thrown out with last year’s fireworks.
This is the perfect opportunity to take stock of the people you have, the resources that are available, and the people who are supporting you.
When you go over the strengths of your organization in the coming year, make sure to include the intangibles such as number of donors, and the influence of some of your larger donors. If you can help your donors feel like they’re a part of your organization, then they are more likely to share what your organization does with their networks.
You should also look to your team. They likely have some abilities and strengths that went under the radar last year, and others that were left untapped. Ask your team what they were able to do beyond the everyday over the past year, or how else they think they might be able to contribute to the work of your organization this year.
Make sure you recognize how important aspects such as brand recognition, media relationships, or influence with politicians are for your organization. These are resources that not every organization has. These intangible resources can define a strategy if they are used appropriately.
You should also be taking stock of your physical resources. Do you have a stable cash flow? Do you have any unique or valuable features within your building or surrounding area? Do you have up to date equipment? These are valuable aspects that should be considered when thinking about your organization’s strengths.
As you go through strategic planning, take note of aspects of your organization that are unique, valuable, difficult to replicate, and necessary for operation.
Strategize around how to best make use of the aspects that are necessary and unique, and try to amplify the parts of your organization that are difficult to replicate. These are the parts that set you apart from the other organizations that are working in your sphere.
The point to all of this is that you likely have more resources than you expect. Your people, your buildings, your connections, your systems, your location, your data, your experiments, and your supporters are all resources that should be counted within your strategy.
By using the resources that you already have available to you, you will avoid spending money on duplicating something you have, or hiring a consultant for work you could have done in house.
Just remember, once you decide on a strategic direction: Keep it simple.