Leading for results: Your Sensors
Strategy is about making choices of what you will do and what you will not do. No choice is a cast in stone. Great leaders must keep their ears and eyes on the ground, collecting intelligence about operational and tactical results to inform strategic choices. It is like the body’s sensory organs. They keep alert; collecting data about every part of the body, and any small pain is promptly identified and reported to the brain to initiate remedial action.
As a leader, your front line staff are the sensors. You need to guide them to collect and provide you with quality information to inform your mid-level managers to execute their roles well. In turn, your middle or tactical staff must summarize this data for your information and action.
Great leaders invest in this data collection and reporting process to facilitate quality data collection and reporting. It is your role to specify the reporting format of the kind of specific data you require and the frequency.
If you are in a coffee business, for example, you need information about the number of cups sold, the type, the price of making a cup and the profit per cup, the most purchased snack etc. If you are to take this to the next level, you get the names and contact details of customers. You do this by providing a feedback form which requests for customer contact details. If you evaluate the performance of the sales staff based on the quality testimonial/ feedback obtained, you have a quality database over a period of a year to run campaigns and updates of your new offerings.
Strategy is about making choices of what you will do and what you will not do. No choice is a cast in stone. Great leaders must keep their ears and eyes on the ground, collecting intelligence about operational and tactical results to inform strategic choices.
If you collect such information on a daily basis, analyze it and act on it, you have high chances of fine tuning your offerings based on the unique needs of your business.
The type of information leaders require is different depending on the type of business, nature of the competition and strategy. And that is what leadership choices mean.
Consider the Xing Xing furniture; when they came to the Ugandan market, they chose to set up their main store and show room outside of Kampala business District. They took advantage of incentives available in the outskirts of the city in terms of low taxes and capital allowances. But also, they reasoned quite rightly that buyers of their specific furniture have the means (personal) cars to drive to their stores.
They chose to instead offer slightly reduced prices, in return for the inconveniences. But also invest money in marketing and promotion of their offerings and a positioning as low price for quality products. It worked.
On the contrary, having a shop on a high street in the CBD is not only expensive; it is a strain on the business UNLESS of course, it is owner occupied. The result is a tendency to transfer costs to the buyer
You must have high quality offerings; otherwise, potential for business growth is threatened.