I think we should all understand something about the future strategy of the business we’re in but I’ve also had the experience of wanting to figure it out but overwhelmed by how much I could know, and not ever knowing enough to be able to talk knowledgably on the topic. What I realized as I worked in different businesses however was I didn’t need to know everything on the business strategy but enough to use a test and learn approach to trying out what I did know. You can increase your value to the company by taking a few steps to provide your perspective on the landscape – don’t consider it a project but just part of daily habits.
You don’t need an MBA to have a position on the business strategy nor the competition, but what you do need is to have is curiosity to stay informed, and courage to test your positions. The second step is vital
because without testing your positions with others no action can be taken with them and no one will ever give you credit for knowing things.
Here are a few steps that you should consider in shaping the landscape.
Do you have the confidence to assert a position on the business strategy with key influential in your world?
Women will sit on their business opinions because they lack confidence in having all the information before creating a formal perspective. Business moves fast. You should always have a position on where the business is going even if you’re the new kid on the project. If you’re part of a big company don’t just stay focused on your area make sure you you’re glancing at related areas – big companies have lots of information sources, pick one or two and make sure you glance at them daily. External web sources are also useful and often provide summaries weekly on companies.
If you learn something that is interesting but you don’t know what it means then ask others for their thoughts on it, or if they know more. Once you start piecing together a perspective, you don’t have to make a big deal positioning your ideas with others but you should practice verbalizing them with people you work with. Something like:
“From what I’ve heard so far sounds like if we keep doing X, Y could happen because of A and B. What do you think of that?”
Listen to what others say in response. You can adjust your position as you go. That’s what everyone is doing – test, learn, adjust, test, learn adjust. As you get more confident in the position you can try it with more
Are you confident enough to assert a position on the direction of the competition?
It’s quite amazing how often we don’t take the time to understand the competition to our business because it’s someone else’s job. It’s pretty easy these days to pay attention get intelligence on the competition by using alerts or news updates. Take the time to be interested in the companies. Be someone who can inform your colleagues on what competitors are up to, and again try your understanding of the competition with your co-workers or boss.
Do you have confidence for a spontaneous voice?
I bet in meetings today you may be sitting on your point of view as you want just a bit more information to solidify your view, or you know someone will say what you’re thinking soon. Sound familiar? Even without the preparation you should blurt it out – as you have as much insight and knowledge as majority of people in the room may be more (just guessing, but I think it’s true). However if you’ve been practicing speaking about a business strategy and understand the competition you’re going to be in a better position to go ahead and blurt out your idea.
It takes confidence and courage to make statements about business strategy, and the way to build those is to practice, and practice and practice. You can do it, and believe me, to do it well you don’t need an MBA.