Is your company getting the desired results from your strategic planning process? If not, it’s likely that your organization may be skipping or poorly executing on one or more of the three key elements to a sound strategic plan.
The costs associated with an incomplete planning process are significant. They include:
- Losing your lead in the market
- Inability to reach financial and operational goals
- Sense of defeat amongst the team and a sense that strategic planning is a waste of time
- Loss of credibility of the leadership team
A strategic planning process that is most likely to deliver the results you expect consists of three key elements.
- Answer the most critical strategic planning questions.
- Who are our customers and how can we serve them better?
- Who are our competitors and how do we differentiate ourselves?
- What do we do best and how do we leverage those strengths?
- How can we prepare the organization to seize opportunities and shore itself against threats?
- What types of situations do we need to consider for the future and what must we do to prepare for them?
Too often, organizations spend a fortune on consulting firms to provide complex strategic plans that are either overly philosophical in nature or have outstanding ideas that don’t quite boil down to clear, executable initiatives.
Once you have the answers to the most critical strategic planning questions, you want to craft a few, clear, compelling strategic initiatives to strengthen the organization.
- Set a few clear priorities. The most important outcome from step one of the strategic planning process is to identify the most important priorities of the organization. Working with a longer list of potential priorities, the organization can now discuss the relative value of each and arrive at no more than three to five key priorities.
A downfall at this step of the process is when an organization sticks with a long list of priorities. While this may serve a purpose of keeping the peace by including everyone’s thoughts, it makes it highly unlikely that the organization will get anything done completely.
- Implement the strategy. We so often hear that strategy never seems to get executed. There are several reasons why this is the case.
- Not committing the necessary resources to accomplish the strategy such as appropriate capital, technology, training, and people.
- Neglecting to reprioritize the workload of busy employees and simply asking them to do more.
- Failing to stop old initiatives that are no longer relevant and even compete with the new.
- Lack of establishing clear role, responsibilities, accountability and reward systems.
- Giving up too soon.
A sound strategy focuses as much time and energy on implementation planning as it does on responding to the key planning questions and establishing priorities.
What part of the process does your organization need to shore up? While some organizations are exceptional at the ‘big picture” questions, they often fail to follow up. Some set too many priorities and are unable to accomplish them with limited resources. Others may excel at execution but struggle with establishing a compelling vision.
If this sounds like your organization, we can help with a proven 3-part strategic planning process that is simple for you to implement while achieving efficient results.
To learn more, please contact Dutra Associates at Sherry@DutraAssociates.com.
Adapted with permission by Center for Executive Coaching.