There's a thousand different conversations you can have about your company and its External Strategy, including its ability to drive healthy revenue. After all, it's 2019 -- a year where the digital marketplace is evolving faster than ever. You'd be crazy not to have these conversations.
How can we innovate? How can we disrupt? What's our branding? Do we need to re-brand? What's our social media strategy? Is our SEO up-to-date? Do we need a product that's different? But still with some novelty? What are our competitors doing? Are we fighting hard enough for market share? Who are our customers? What's our niche? Do we know our target market? What's the data telling us?
You get the idea.
But what about your Internal Strategy? Isn't this strategy core to every successful, sustainable business?
I'm talking about the strategy that drives stability in the face of change.
I'm talking about the strategy that represents your brand to customers better than any ad, logo, or website every could.
I'm talking about the strategy that will do more for your impact -- including your revenue -- than any new innovative pivot you can come up with.
I'm talking about your People.
From your front-line staff to your seasoned veterans, if you don't develop an internal strategy, you're committing your company to a death's knell march at some point down the road.
Why? Because People are what drive your profits. You need people to execute the vision of the organization, and that starts with a strong foundation of developing your people.
Many companies get it backwards. They operate on a Profits-first mentality and don't care who gets burned in the process. If people leave, we'll just replace them. If people complain, they're just entitled anyway. We don't have time for time-off. Work from home? You're nuts!
We know this doesn't work long-term. For starters, short-term turnover can cost a company thousands of dollars in the long run, sometimes as high as half-a-year's salary.
We also know that Profits-first, instead of People-first, doesn't create engaged employees, who typically contribute exponentially more than their peers. In fact, Profits-first creates the toxic employees everyone's worked with at some point -- and these types of people collectively cost companies billions of dollars in lost revenue per year.
On the other hand, plenty of owners care about their team members, and it's unfair and hyperbolic to paint a portrait of the evil taskmaster or overseer. Still, the Profits-first mentality reigns supreme, even in well-meaning bosses.
Because it takes tremendous work to create your Internal Strategy, and sometimes it's easier to chase the short-term sale than put in the honest work to protect the long-term life of your brand.
But even the grandest plans will fail without the right people to execute them. Today's marketplace is evolving faster, leading to increased pressure for companies to be able to be agile and innovative. Do you have the people you need to lead the way? You'll need a solid Internal Strategy to make it happen.
Here's a few ways you can develop your Internal Strategy:
1) Create a Mission people can engage with. People don't quit bosses, despite what you've heard. They quit companies that they feel totally disengaged with. They quit when their work feels meaningless. On the other hand, they stay and continue to engage, even in spite of a terrible boss. Why? Because they believe in the mission that much. They believe in the impact they're making. They know they're making a difference. People want a reason to give everything they have -- so give them that compelling reason.
2) Create clear paths for growth and development. Successful people like to move forward in life. If you don't want your best to move on from your business, give them reasons to stay. Show them what the future looks like for them -- and stick to your word. This may means maximizing the potential in them, even if they aren't walking in their giftings quite yet. "See the Greatness before the Lack."
3) Create a Culture worth working in. A friend described her internal culture as a "set of values I work hard to protect". Does your company have values? I mean real values you live out daily -- not something a marketing agency just threw on a wall for you. If you want people to love their work and really give everything they have into it, your culture is your best starting point.