Focusing on a Strategic Imperative can be elusive, simply because over time, people (businesses are made up of people) will lose focus or be distracted.
All businesses atrophy over time. So do business systems. Therefore, Strategic Renewal must be built into the Management process in order to preserve focus and direction.
What is your company's strategic imperative?
Do you compete on Cost? Service? Product?
Market leaders focus exclusively on being great at one dimension while developing enough capabilities in other dimensions in order to satisfy customer requirements.
There are two major reasons for this:
1. Decisions of how to spend capital and resources are competing within the company against the other dimensions. For example: being the low cost producer requires an investment in machines and technology in order to maintain the lowest possible cost. This means longer runs and fewer features on products which may directly oppose higher service (customers wanting smaller shipments and smaller minimums on custom products) or oppose placing more functionality or features into a product (more complexity in the manufacturing process).
2. Most organizations cannot be all things to all markets and therefore must specialize in an area which positions that company differently from its competitors. The implications are that customers requiring low cost will be attracted to a manufacturer with a "lowest cost producer" strategy while other customers requiring better products or more "full" service may not be attracted to this company.
Look at your customer requirements and match them to your company's strategy, finding which customers you will never please. Don't let those customers distract your company's resources from its strategic imperative.
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