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The Power of One: A Single-Minded Focus Essential to Owning Your Intended Future

May 8, 2017
by Chris Ward

A few years ago, I was invited to speak to a group of business executives gathered to learn more about membership in an organization dedicated to leadership development and business growth.

My talk was entitled The Power of One and I spoke about how every employee, regardless of title or department, has the power to influence what stakeholders think of a business and what it offers.

Since then, I’ve developed an even greater respect for the number “one,” in large part owing to my work in helping clients develop strategies focused on owning their intended, or desired, future.

One plan... one theme or focus

Planning to own an intended future should be a priority for every business organization. A sound planning process will force leaders to be clear about what matters to their stakeholders, and the market position they intend to stake out. As a result they will be better able to offer products and services that satisfy very specific needs... better able to communicate clearly and succinctly what their organization stands for and how their offering will benefit their customers, clients, members, or donors... and better able to fine-tune their policies, systems and processes to support employees in delivering what stakeholders expect. Based on a fundamental understanding of market opportunities and their position, they will be better able to differentiate themselves from their competitors and build their reputation as a go-to provider.

Integration enables focus

From a strategic perspective, it takes an integrated business, brand and marketing strategy to own your intended future. That means a strategy with a single-minded purpose…a strategy with one overarching focus.

A few years ago, I worked with a provincial healthcare association to develop an integrated, three-year strategic plan. Through workshops and surveys, it became apparent that members expected more from the association than they were actually getting. And they were quite clear about what ‘more’ should look like. As a result, the overarching theme, or focus, became ‘member value’, and the plan’s unifying and overarching goal spoke to significantly enhancing the benefits of membership. This goal served as a litmus test for prioritizing strategic initiatives and building the plan.

Strategy benefits from a single unifying theme

Which brings me back to the title of this blog post—The Power of One: A Single-Minded Focus Essential to Owning Your Intended Future. In my experience, many plans come up short because they lack this unifying theme and focus. What about your organization? Have you got a single-minded focus? Have you got a unifying theme that will help you plan initiatives that really matters to your customers or members? Are you capitalizing on The Power of One?


Chris Ward is a Principal with StrategicRetreats and founder of Riverhorse Strategic Advisors. Over the past 20 years he has facilitated dozens of meetings, workshops and retreats and conducted more than 1,000 key informant interviews for organizations of all types and sizes. An expert in strategic planning and branding, he helps clients develop very specific plans to achieve corporate goals and own their space. 


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