I remember it like it was yesterday. Early in the days of The A Group, I was eager to make my mark, willing to go the extra mile, and often, that meant offering my strategic advice for free in hopes of landing the implementation deal. I thought I was being smart, giving my clients a taste of what I could do, trusting that they would come back for more.
Then, I met a client who changed my perspective forever.
I was deep into a consulting session, pouring over strategic insights, and it was clear that he was impressed. But as we wrapped up our meeting, he leaned back and looked at me with an expression that mixed gratitude and bemusement.
"Strategy," he said, leaning forward, "is the most important thing you can help any client with. It's the most valuable. Charge for it and stop giving it away."
Those words hit me like a lightning bolt.
This powerful insight opened my eyes to the actual worth of strategic thinking. It led me to recognize other vital truths that apply to all of us in the business world:
1. Recognizing the Value of Your Expertise
Your strategic insights are your most valuable asset. If you don't value them, neither will others. Don't be tempted to undersell yourself, especially when starting.
2. Understanding Strategy's Place in the Organization
Strategy happens at the top of the organization. When you enter an organization as a strategist, you can easily make your way down the ranks, guiding and influencing all aspects of the business. But if you join as a mere tactician, it becomes virtually impossible to become a trusted strategist and move your way up. Positioning yourself as a thought leader from the outset ensures that your insights shape the entire direction of the business, not just a fragment of it.
3. Shifting Focus from Product to Process
Beyond mere implementations, it's the strategy that defines success. Your roadmap to success isn't just about what you create; it's about how you think, plan, and execute.
4. Cultivating a Mindset of Worth
Charge appropriately for your strategic insights. It's more than setting a price; it's making a statement of worth that fosters a more engaging and committed client relationship.
5. Crafting a More Satisfying Client Relationship
Clients who pay for strategic insights are more invested in the process, leading to a more successful outcome.
That client's advice transformed my approach, emphasizing the central importance of strategy within the organization. Strategy isn't just a part of business; it's the heartbeat that fuels innovation, guides execution, and leads to sustained growth.
In our complex and ever-changing business landscape, the wisdom of entering as a strategist, of being the guiding force from the top, resonates more than ever. The value we place on our strategic insights reflects the value we bring to our clients and ourselves.
Whether you are a business owner, a leader, or a professional striving for excellence, remember this simple yet profound truth: strategy begins at the top, and you should never undervalue it. It's not just what we do but how we think and lead that makes the difference. Make sure you charge for your strategy. It's worth it.
P.S. Strategy is something I do best. It's what has made my career successful over decades. I have helped hundreds of leaders and business owners develop strategies that have changed their organizations and changed their own lives. I can help you. Click HERE to find out how.