Focus on Your Core: Checklist for Strategy Success

By Jessica Wishart

dateSun, Nov 30, 2014 @ 12:00 PM

The elements of your core strategy (your Core Purpose, Core Values, and Core Customer) are foundational for your success.  If you don’t have this core firmly established and embedded in your organization, how can you expect to grow with purpose?  Core_Strategy

Purposeful growth depends upon having these elements of your strategy come to life in your company rather than discussing them once in a strategy planning session only to put them on a shelf or display them on a wall somewhere, never to be thought about again.

If you aren’t sure what to do to make sure your strategy is alive in your organization, this checklist may give you a place to start:

 Develop Job Scorecards that include your Core Values.  When interviewing potential hires, listen for how they already demonstrate your Core Values (or don’t).

 Use your Core Purpose in your recruitment process.  Lead with it in job descriptions and have your recruiters share it with candidates.  Use it to attract people who are already passionate about what you do.

 Incorporate your Core Values into your performance review or appraisal process.

 Include an introduction and overview of your Core strategy as part of your orientation or “great first day” for new employees.

 Emphasize your Core Values and Core Purpose in the training/onboarding process and handbooks for new employees.

 Come up with a recognition system or award for living your Core Values and Core Purpose. 

 Have someone on your team serve as your culture ambassador and put that person in charge of recognizing others when they exemplify your Core Values.

 As long as you don’t stop with just this, go ahead and put those Core Values up on the wall somewhere.  Maybe name your conference rooms after them or designate certain areas of the office for each one.  

 You can give each person a framed or laminated card with your Core printed on it to display in their workspace.

 Publish a culture book where you compile stories from your team about living your Core Values.

 Have an internal newsletter that features stories about times when your Core helped your company make the right decisions.  Or, set aside time in your monthly meetings to share these stories.

 Give your people the freedom to live the Core first and ask permission later.

 Have the courage to fire (even key players) for not living up to the Core Values.

 Keep your Core top of mind in your Strategic and Annual Planning sessions so that you are in alignment and making decisions that support the foundation.

 Use your definition of Core Customer to help you in the sales process.  Set parameters around the prospects you will sell to so that you aren’t bringing in customers who won’t be happy with your product or service.

 Attract your Core Customer with your targeted marketing efforts.  Find out what your Core Customer is interested in (what are they reading, what groups do they belong to, what kinds of devices are they using, how do they spend their free time), and then come up with content especially for them and put that content in a place where they are already looking for it.

 Work hard to keep your Core Customers happy.  Give them a special gift or have an event for them to let them know how much you love and appreciate them.

 When making decisions on product development or service offerings, consider the feedback from your Core Customers.  These are the customers you are willing to design something special for to keep them around.

 Encourage your team to speak up and give feedback when you or others on your leadership team could be doing more to live the Core Values and Core Purpose.

 Incorporate your Core into your everyday conversations.  You should be talking about these elements so much that everyone in your company should be able to recite them from memory.

Your core strategy touches every aspect of your business from finding and keeping the right people and the right customers to product development, customer service, and financial and strategic decisions.  Nothing is too big or too small to be viewed through the lens of your core strategy - you should constantly be asking, “Am I living our Core Values, are we fulfilling our Core Purpose, is this helping us attract and retain our Core Customers?”  If you can keep these foundational elements top of mind for you and your team, you are on the right track to growing with purpose.


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Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images