Market Context & Strategic Alignment

Written by Grant Heinrich, 14 May 2020

The Challenge

At times, experts are more engaged with their particular technical or professional fields and less concerned with the broader organisational context. Though the organisation might share performance data or high level articulations of its strategy, the less experienced or mature expert may not regard this as essential reference material for their own work. At other times, the organisation may not perceive that sharing such data with people in technical specialist roles – or inviting them to the relevant meetings – is necessary or advantageous. Either way, all too often, experts are less informed about the broader organisational context – and perceived to be either uninformed or even disinterested. Their value add is thus relegated to be purely in relationship with their technical outputs rather than as holistic and vital organisational contributors. This can have numerous problematic implications. They miss out on being able to contribute towards key organisational initiatives and priorities. They are seen as costs – to be reduced – rather than assets (which in turn can constrain their budgets or limit the value placed on their recommendations). They might be focused on lower priorities and be esteemed only in terms of those lesser valued activities.

Such issues can be remedied – in our experience – by an expert’s making a targeted effort to acquire relevant information about the organisaiton’s market context – its industry trends, competitors and their activities, customer expectations and preferences, the organisation’s strategies and value propositions, its performance data across a number of key metrics, etc. Once such information is acquired – and digested – the expert can then better align his/her activities with key organisational strategies, prioritise more effectively, participate in broader organisational conversations and initiatives, make more targeted and compelling presentations, add measurable value and thus elevate their brand from a mere technical contributor to key organisational navigator, competitive analyst, customer strategist, etc.

The Content

In this pod session, your team member discussed and explored with their fellow podsters:

  • Exploring the market context for their organisation – including all the data points that a master expert would typically be across. Exploring where to source such data and how to make sense of it, utilising it to inform priorities, business case development, etc.

  • They will role play conversing with senior business decision makers about commercial matters to explore the depth of their credibility, knowledge and ability to put that knowledge to work.

  • They will begin shaping an action plan to acquire the relevant market context data within their organisations – which information, how and where to source and how to put it to effective use.

The Punchlines

  • Though experts may perceive an inherent value in the technically-focused work that they do, they would do well not to assume that others necessarily make the same connections. When an expert can contextualise their contributions within the framework of the enterprise’s overarching goals then others will more easily appreciate the expert’s contributions. Unless and until experts can masterfully position their recommendations as delivering quantifiable value to the organisation as a whole, they are likely to be seen as only marginally relevant and possibly even obtrusive, over-priced and over-complicated.

  • Market context is not as complex and impenetrable as it may seem to the uninitiated. There are some general business principles that, once understood, enable an expert to tangibly align their contributions to key organisational priorities.

  • Experts cannot afford to be indifferent towards such information – or perceived to be so. Taking an active interest, aligning language and efforts accordingly, instantly raise the profile of an expert to being a valued organisational strategist rather than a commoditised “boffin”.