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Strategy’s Secret Sauce: How Data Can Help Your Strategic Plan Succeed

When we think of strategy, we often think of some masterful thinker using their experience and insights to keep one step ahead of the competition.

Although stories of visionary thinking and listening to your gut instincts makes for good entertainment, there is another essential part of strategy that doesn’t always get the credit it deserves: data.

InvestorCOM CEO Dave Reeve made one of the toughest calls of his career when he took the company through a major pivot, shifting from a service business to a technology platform. It wound up being a shining example of how data can help your team move forward in the face of immense challenges.

Here are three ways that data can make or break your strategic plan: 

  • Data mitigates risk. There are times when leaders must be bold, creative, and take risks. But even the risks should be calculated. And that means using data to shore up your rationale. While many of us think of data as a spreadsheet of computations, data can be everything from trends in the marketplace and assessments of what your competitors are doing to your own sales forecasts and industry projections. While the data may not always provide you with a clear solution, what’s always clear is that you must make strategic decisions to survive. And those decisions are far more likely to be the right ones if they’re backed by data.
  • Data can cultivate buy-in. Even the greatest plans can fail miserably if they don’t get the support of the team. One of the ways to create that buy-in is to communicate your strategy with supporting data. After all, your team is far more likely to get behind a plan when they understand the rationale behind it and the stakes of its success.
  • Data helps you adapt. No plan should ever be static. Plans are written to reflect a snapshot in time, and sometimes the factors you weighted the most change overnight. By keeping an eye on relevant data, you can tweak, adapt, or overhaul your strategy to make sure you’re always moving closer to your business goals.

Wherever you’re at in your strategic planning process, don’t forget the role that data can have in building, communicating, and refining it.

It may just be the secret sauce to help you meet your business goals.

To hear the full 20-minute episode “Reinvigorating a 30-year-old business model” with Dave Reeve on our Toughest Call podcast – listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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