What is your strategic pulse?

How are you?

Comment allez-vous? Cómo estás? Habari gani? Come stai?

When asked, “How are you?” my usual response is an impulsive “Fine, thanks” or a grunt, depending on the time of day. If truth be told, this is not usually a true reflection of how I feel at the time, and try as I may to hide how I truly feel, my performance that day is determined by that little worry, ache, sniffle or just the fact that I happen to be fine but not operating at my highest performance.

Businesses, similar to our bodies, need to be highly functional to be effective in providing high performance.

Just like our bodies need regular health checks to assess how all the vital parts are functioning, cars need regular MOT tests. If you are taking a car on a journey, knowing your final destination is just as important as being clear about where you are. Also, throughout the journey you check your progress to ensure you are on track, and you check the vitals of the car – oil, tyre pressure, etc. – to be sure the car is suitable to get you there. It is an opportunity to “tune up” the car so it can last the journey to your destination.

This concept applies to all businesses too – is your organisation in good shape to help you achieve your goals? How effective is your organisation and your overall performance? Are you doing the right things to achieve the right results? What has seeped in along the way that is not in line? Have you had a pulse check recently?

An important part of the business life cycle is evaluating key or vital competencies to ensure they are fit for purpose – a process that is often known as a “strategic audit.”

Strategic audit

A strategic audit is essentially a business health check.

“A strategy audit involves assessing the actual direction of a business and comparing that course to the direction required to succeed in a changing environment,” says Andrew Carey, business author and publisher. “A company’s actual direction is the sum of what it does and does not do, how well the organisation is internally aligned to support its strategy, and how viable the strategy is when compared to external market, competitor and financial realities.” (www.triarchypress.net)

Through an in-depth review of both the internal and external environments of the organisation, a strategic audit helps to determine the most appropriate direction for your company to move toward achieving its goals, and ensures that it continues to generate value.

But when is the right time?

That ache or engine light is often a symptom of something more problematic that could have been fixed by earlier detection and prevention. We can choose to address issues as they arise, or to proactively check that all is well and provide regular maintenance. It is not rocket science that the latter is more cost effective, as it minimises the damage caused by small issues that grow into big issues.

In business terms, regular “check ups” make sure you are going in a direction that is taking you toward your goals and operating at high performance.

Whether it is cars, human bodies or businesses, it always pays to have a preventative approach. This is good practice even if all seems well, especially because the business environment is constantly changing.

So is your business on track? When did you last have a check up?

Contact us to find out more about assessing your strategic pulse. We are passionate about supporting businesses to achieve their goals.