The Organizational Strategist

February 27, 2011

Focus on core strategy to create new venture success


New ventures are absolutely captivating.  When people are involved they have stars in their eyes and can image all sorts of amazing outcomes.  When undertaking such a new venture, it is helpful to have the end goal in mind so that you work toward it.  However, building capability and resources to gradually reach the end goal is what needs to be done initially.  Enduring strategy is very hard to create and it takes time, investment, and, perhaps most of all, a whole lot of effort.

-Evolving strategy-

To begin, the core of the strategy should be developed and the focus.  The core of the strategic will be the central area that the organization is founded on and is likely created from the founder’s big idea to kick it off.  This should be the primary priority for the founders and initial stakeholders.  I say primary because everything will seem to be of high importance.  Building an organization from scratch is a sizeable undertaking and many aspects need to be in place in order for a new venture to be successful.  All of the components, from idea creation through implementation and going to market, are needed.  The enormity of such an effort can be mindboggling and overwhelming. 

Do not despair!  The first large phase is to create the core strategy’s foundation.  From there, the following steps become clearer and, hopefully, can build upon successes along the way.  The reason for focusing on the core strategy is because that area of the organization will derive the short and long term payoff that can make an organization successful.  Without the core strategy, all the resources and capabilities will not have direction and alignment to achieve.  It may survive through small acts of heroic employees, but it would not be sustainable because of burnout of people and resources.  Taking on everything at once should only be reserved for those that already have the auxiliary components of the organization.  Even then, it must be a balance of what can be build and the pressure of going to market.

To make it so that you can focus on the core strategy, find ways to get through the overhead and administration of a new venture in an effective manner.  That will likely mean partnering with other organizations, hiring auxiliary service providers (HR, Accounting, Marketing, whatever is not central to your organization, etc.), and/or simply outsourcing aspects of the business (infrastructure, call centers, logistics handlers, etc.) to ensure that you can deliver on whatever product or service your venture creates or augments. 


This is a short term focus to make it so that the venture is supported and enabled as it evolves.  It is important to be patient and make certain the organization is ready to evolve and grow before moving ahead.  If an organization grows too quickly, it might cave in from overextending itself.  Over time, taking back these non-core elements will become more appealing so that the core strategy can expand and touch more facets of the organization.  It’s generally more efficient and effective to have such aspects in-house as well.  As milestones are reached and success grows, organizational inertia helps propel organizations forward.  Those first few big occasions pave the path forward to fulfilling all those starry eyed dreams.


February 20, 2011

Setting up a new venture for success


It is an energizing and inspiring thought to consider leading your own company or venture.  The possibilities seem limitless as you know you can shape where and how the ideas come to reality.  As the leader, CEO/President, founder, etc. you can shape all of the key organizational elements of strategy, structure, workflow, reinforcement and policies.  However, having the intended design implemented can be a considerable initial and ongoing challenge.   That is why finding the right people to support and enable your ideas is absolutely critical.

-The critical people-

The smaller the size of your organization, the more impact every individual will have upon strategic implementation, normal operations and the future opportunities.  With that in mind, the people you initially bring along with you or bring into your new organization will have a huge impact in ways you can imagine and many that you will not. 

With the importance of those partners or supporters in mind, what should the aspiring inventors, leaders, and founders look for?  The most important element would be if they can enable the key strategic aims of the venture.  The recruits should have resources and/or capabilities to complement or augment you abilities and resources, as the person in charge.  It is important to know where you, as the strategic powerhouse, need to apply your ideas, skills, resources, and abilities.  It may be equally as important to know where you should not be investing your time.  This part may be due to lack of experience, ability, resources, or simply interest. 

Another important aspect is regarding the structure and workflow of the organization you want to create.  The key players involved in carrying out the core strategy will have large impacts into the company culture.  Since the key players will be tied to the vital activities, they will be relied upon and their actions will carry weight into how things are done then and into the future.  The people you bring into your company or venture should be people you like, want to work with, and know that would work well with you and others.  It is important to make the distinction between simply hiring friends and hiring colleagues who are friends.  Much like a friend that really should not or just cannot be a good roommate, there are friends that you should not bring into your organization.  Those friends may not like to function at the same hours as you (they might be morning people while you’re a night person).  They might like a home where laundry is always on display over the couch and bed, while you like home clean and orderly at all times.  Styles and approaches may or may not complement each other.  It is good to have diversity of approach as long as it adds value instead of stands in the way.  There are many more examples where you can find parallels between the way you know them as friends and what is important for your other roles.  Ultimately, you and others will need to rely upon them for getting both the strategic and non-strategic work done in a productive and hopefully fun manner.  


First know what it will take to achieve your strategic aims and where/how you want to be involved.  Second, understand that your new organization will require a certain mix of talent, resources, and intangible attributes to succeed.  For those that are dreaming of new horizons, think on whom you know or you should get to know that will help create the future you envision.  A new venture requires a lot of hard work, but the rewards can become amazing.  Good luck!

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