How to execute a successful edtech growth strategy: five must-do and don’t-do activities
So, how do you execute a successful edtech growth strategy? And, how can it benefit your company’s culture?
Develop a clear strategy if you want to build a confident culture
People often quote Peter Drucker when they point out that culture eats strategy for breakfast.
But, edtech and education businesses that successfully scale have a clear North Star that staff understand, believe in, and collaboratively race towards. In other words, a clear strategy is equally important for building a confident culture, and adaptable and resilient teams.
Build a clear execution plan, and pursue it tenaciously
But strategy often isn’t the problem.
Many businesses identify the right strategic goals, but still struggle to grow. Or when at scale, they struggle to evolve. Why is this? Often it’s not that their strategy is flawed. It’s that they lack a clear and coordinated approach to executing it.
Of course, a critical part of this is organizational readiness. There’s lots of expert advice available for strategic change management, so I won’t repeat that here. Instead, I want to share five activities that I often find businesses overlook, but that are—in my experience—essential to executing a strategy successfully.
Five must-do and don’t-do activities
So, no matter your goals, here are five must-do and don’t-do activities to execute a successful edtech growth strategy. None of these are remarkable, and perhaps that’s precisely why they’re so often overlooked!
1. Ensure your leaders develop a shared and aligned vision for growth. All too often, strategy is incubated by a small group of individuals, but the broader leadership don’t fully understand, co-own, or believe in it. This disconnect will come around to bite you. So, take the time to ensure your leaders challenge, co-develop, and refine a common vision for growth and the risks and opportunities involved.
2. Identify and prioritize key operational initiatives and milestones. Growth and transformation strategies don’t “execute themselves”, and especially ones requiring new or changed activities, or with many dependencies between functions. So, identify key initiatives required to realize your growth strategy and break these into bold, but achievable chunks of what needs to be achieved, by whom, and when, and make these a priority.
3. Decide what to stop doing so you can focus precious resources on growth drivers. Strategies that power growth take effort to shore up and build momentum (if they don’t, they’re unlikely to be transformational). But often leaders are reluctant to let go of what’s working today. The result is often a schizophrenic approach that doesn’t liberate enough mindshare and capacity to advance the new strategy. So, be judicious: identify as many initiatives that your business is going to stop doing as new ones you want to start.
4. Identify KPIs that demonstrate directional progress and change, and incentivize staff on these. I often find that a company’s KPIs aren’t designed to drive their stated strategy. If your business KPIs haven’t evolved with your strategy, it says something to your staff about your conviction (you ain’t walking the walk). So, if you want your company to execute the strategy, make sure you translate it into clear company-level KPIs that illustrate directional progress and reward staff for that.
5. Regularly review progress, listen, learn, and course correct. Strategies rarely roll out smoothly. They will take you and your teams into unchartered territories. So, establish a regular and honest forum to assess, learn, and adjust. Like travel, the journey a strategy takes you on and what you discover along the way are often more important than the destination.
[You may also find of interest, Why and how to invest in edtech data for your growth, How to engineer edtech for adoption at scale, and Why investing in learning science makes good business sense.]
Need help? Have feedback?
Are you an edtech or education company with bold ambitions? Do you have a clear plan for how to execute a successful edtech growth strategy? If want a fast, incisive, and experienced assessment of your growth strategy and practical advise for how to shore it up, please contact us using the form below—we’d love to help. We also welcome your feedback or questions—just use the form and title “Your challenge” with the word “Feedback”.