It is said that there are three priorities that businesses should focus on: their strategy, people, and operations. It sounds so simple dealing with such a short list of priorities, but it can be harder to implement. Oracle’s CEO Mark Hurd shares some insights.
1. Get your strategy right.
Hurd defines strategy as your high-level plan for being profitable while also having leverage over your competitors. It may be your vision in ensuring that you keep the bills paid, customers satisfied, and the doors open for a long time. But sometimes, it may not be received well when you first propose it.
The right strategy will use your business’ unique strengths to propel your organization forward. Or it will allow you to seize opportunities that others did not see. Hurd relates that Oracle made the right decision to move their services and products to the cloud. The company rewrote its database, applications, and other products and services so that all of these will work well on the cloud.
The company spent a lot of research and development, spending anywhere from $3.7 billion to $6.0 billion a year. That kind of spending meant smaller earnings for several years, but it positioned the company to dominate the cloud-based software, database, and products market. They moved in early and well ahead of their competitors. It helped them corner more than their fair share of the market.
Hurd also says that you should stop thinking that your strategy will change in a year or two. The right plan will take a long time to execute and succeed.
2. Getting the operations right.
Your business is dealing with an increasingly competitive and complicated environment. You will need to deal with digital innovations, globalization, and other developments. All of these come at a faster pace now. This in turn means that you should update how you operate every now and then.
Hurd recommends knowing your core strengths and determining that all departments (from sales and marketing to HR to other teams) are all working and maximizing all those strengths.
You should also ensure that your company culture enhances your strengths. Meanwhile, your IT systems should be able to keep up with your needs. You should encourage innovations and new ideas, while also having a proper way to retire or integrate old processes.
3. Hire and keep the best people.
As a company, you should do your best to attract, train, and retain the best people. You should never take your employees for granted. Just think about it, there is a marked decline in birth rates, so we are looking at a slimmer labor pool around the world. If you are in technology, then you should also be alarmed that there are only a few college students who are now majoring in STEM courses.
CEOs should work with HR to help them come up with programs, culture, and incentives that will attract top talent and then train them. You should also equip them with tools and support that makes it easier for them to succeed.
Photo courtesy of Mark Hurd’s Oracle Executive Biography page.