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
- Initial assessment and gap analysis of company’s performance culture and state of business
- Development of vivid quarter-century vision along with mission and core values
- Creation of matrix detailing past 3-year wins, year-ahead must-wins, risks to achieving goals, and support structure or resources required
- SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) creation of company and top industry competitors
- Competitive set analysis to ensure differentiation and competitive advantage
- Creation of top key performance indicators (KPIs) matrix for company, comparison to its competitors, and gap analysis to overcome challenges
- 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
- Development of key growth strategies and business drivers for overall company and each department
- Development of tactical initiatives, desired outcomes and tangible/intangible benefits tied to each growth strategy
- 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.