GiombettiPR Strategic Planning

Top 10 Steps for Strategic Planning Success

Does this situation sound familiar? The CEO has a compelling vision…in his or her head. Management has the experience and know-how… but isn’t in sync or aligned. The company has a business plan…except it’s 10 years old.

Or how about this? Your current strategic plan lacks the kind of dynamic framework that’s required to move at the speed of business. The information contained within isn’t inclusive of all the true leaders at the company. Leadership isn’t sure how to be strategic; they’re more comfortable with the tactical.

And finally, consider this scenario. Leadership doesn’t see value of the strategic planning exercise given how rapidly the business climate changes. It is a laborious process and at times a political show and tell that never gets implemented. The strategic plan doesn’t have a compelling growth narrative anchored by credible business drivers that are supported by financial statements and tangible assumptions.

Greater Good: Inasmuch as there are plenty of valid reasons not to engage in the art and science of strategic planning, it is without a doubt quite necessary.

Why? Because everyone at the company needs to know the company’s true north direction. That there is a greater good – a greater purpose to the company than pure profit. That there is a winning and believable plan that everyone has a role in. And that everyone in the company is tactically aligned and on the same page, and rowing in the same direction with clear understandings about what they are supposed to do and why.

Strategic planning is a process that is rather challenging, yet it’s a powerfully bonding and insightful experience that should be inclusive of the entire company’s leadership.

Dialogue among participants should be real. Each department head or team lead should develop a mini-strategic plan that folds neatly into an overarching strategic plan for the company. Not only should there be a vision framework that is artfully constructed with soft intangibles like quarter-century dream goals, a belief system, core values, and objectives that maximize both profit and purpose. But also you should be doing hard core assessments of the company and its departments with competitive set gap analyses layered on.

Top 10 Steps for Strategic Planning Success

  1. Initial assessment and gap analysis of company’s performance culture and state of business
  2. Development of vivid quarter-century vision along with mission and core values
  3. Creation of matrix detailing past 3-year wins, year-ahead must-wins, risks to achieving goals, and support structure or resources required
  4. SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) creation of company and top industry competitors
  5. Competitive set analysis to ensure differentiation and competitive advantage
  6. Creation of top key performance indicators (KPIs) matrix for company, comparison to its competitors, and gap analysis to overcome challenges
  7. Creation of KPIs matrix of company’s functional departments, development of mini-5-year vision for each department, comparison to its competitors, and gap analysis to overcome challenges, which feeds into overarching company KPI matrix
  8. Development of key growth strategies and business drivers for overall company and each department
  9. Development of tactical initiatives, desired outcomes and tangible/intangible benefits tied to each growth strategy
  10. Creation of year-long time and actin plan with risk/differentiation analysis, which includes an ROI assessment on resources requested with an abridged version of the annual strategic plan to be updated mid-year

The final outcome is a living, breathing, and evergreen document that is never shelved once created. It becomes a primal manifesto of the company and its people that is executed against with passion and excellence for years to come.

GiombettiPR Crisis Communications

Crisis Communications: What To Do

No one can predict when a crisis will strike. However, you can certainly be prepared for various threats and situations by already having a designated team and a framework for action…just in case.

When crisis does strike, the next 24 hours are the most critical. Within this time period, you must determine with as much certainty the facts and circumstances of what happened. You must decide upon a simple and clear messaging strategy with typically no more than three key messages. You must identify all key stakeholders to communicate to and determine the most effect method to get the word out, as well as the frequency of updates. The rule of thumb is you can’t over communicate but you can under communicate.

Some situations are better suited for controlled crisis communications, such as press releases, issued statements to the media, email communications to key stakeholders or live meetings. Other platforms provide very little control but are important engagement tools and require monitoring and nimble reaction, such as social media, press inquiries, live TV interviews, shareholder inquiries or customer service.

While each crisis communications medium has its unique advantages and subtle nuances, what needs to be consistent throughout is a consistent voice , the facts as best you know them and plan of action to address the crisis, and a message of action and sympathy that speaks to all stakeholders.

Moreover, the messenger of your crisis communications —or what’s commonly referred to as the spokesperson — needs to be credible and knowledgeable of the facts, circumstances and plan of action. The public quickly tunes out someone who is “telling and selling” versus someone who is forthright, factual and transparent.

And while each crisis does present risks and uncertainties that can negatively impact your brand or reputation, it’s how you manage through the crisis with integrity that counts the most. Each touch point with the audience is an opportunity to shape the moment and safeguard your reputation’s credibility.