Why a Focus on One Driving Force is Key to Your Strategic Thinking Conversations


One Driving Force

When Benjamin Tregoe originally created his concept of Driving Forces, it was based on his belief that there are nine influential factors that impact how a business “shows up” in the marketplace. The challenge according to Tregoe is you can focus on only one specific Driving Force during any given period. You need to pick one to rally your people around over the next 12 to 24 months. With 2015 looming on the horizon, do you know which one your organization will be focusing on?

Forces, Resources, and Choices

Your company’s Driving Forces are already embedded in your market identity, consciously or unconsciously. How you prioritize the Driving Forces is directly linked to resource allocation and to day-to-day decision-making in your business. Leadership Teams working with Driving Forces often discover that they were not aware of ‘disconnects’ between what they say and how they allocate resources in practice. Prioritizing Driving Forces is a great strategic thinking conversation that ultimately helps to get everyone on the same page.

When it comes to Driving Forces, entrepreneurs often say, “there are only nine of them – my team will have no problem dealing with all of them at once.” That’s where they are wrong. No business can invest in or emphasize all nine Driving Forces in any one period. You can try but you will fail. It’s like falling into the trap of being a company that is attempting to be ‘all things to all people” that soon end up not being much of anything to anybody.

Force Your Focus

As with most things in life, it’s extremely difficult to choose a focus in a world of what appears to be endless opportunities and possibilities. Entrepreneurial CEO’s are particularly prone to being members of the “flavour-of-the-month” club or to “never seeing an opportunity they did not like”. This approach, especially when it comes from the leader, confuses the organization, dilutes energy and resources, and results in less accomplishment – not more. By singling out one Driving Force, you better understand the opportunities and investments available to your business. You prioritize what to focus on and what matters most during this 12-24 month strategic horizon. You can achieve market and competitive advantage using your chosen Driving Force as a true focus for differentiation. Intense commitment and relentless execution around your choice will pay off in both growth and profitability.

No Silver Bullets. The Lone Ranger Fired All Of Them…

Working with Driving Forces is one of those RROE (Regular, Recurring, Ongoing & Evolving) Strategic Thinking Conversations. It won’t generate success if you approach it as a “forced march” or one of those “let’s sit down this afternoon and hammer it out in two hours” type of thing.

First, you need to get your Leadership Team up–to-speed on the concept and how to use it. Next, everyone needs to do their own individual work thinking about how the Driving Forces ‘rank’ toda, and how they should rank 3 – 5 years in the future. Now you’re ready to start the conversation. When you get everyone’s input “up on the wall” of a strategic thinking room, you’ll be surprised at just how differently the team is thinking about Driving Forces. Working to agree on what you will focus on can take some time. If you are the CEO, let this conversation ‘play-out’, and do your best to avoid the tendency to simply tell them what you want to hear.

Working with Driving Forces is one of the most powerful, high-impact things you and your team can do in strategic thinking. Achieving crystal-clarity about where your focus is, how you will allocate resources, and what you will and won’t do as a result of that focus has huge payoff opportunities for your business.

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