Three signs that your strategic planning process is incomplete and you won’t get the results you expect17 Nov 2017, by Leadership, Strategic Planning in
A good strategic planning process includes three components. If you skip or poorly executes one of these components, it is unlikely you’ll get results you want.
Getting it wrong can have huge implications for the business:
– Damage to market position, identity and niche;
– Failure to achieve desired financial and operational results;
– Frustration throughout the company and a loss of faith in planning; and
– Loss of leadership credibility.
A sound strategic planning process includes the following three elements. If your organisation does a poor job in any of these areas, your strategic planning process is incomplete and won’t get the results you expect:
One: Answer the “big” strategic planning questions.
The big questions include: Who are our customers and how can we better serve them? Who are our competitors and how can we beat them? What do we do best and how can we build on that edge? How can we prepare the organisation to defend against threats and seize opportunities? What are potential scenarios that we need to consider for the future, and how will we prepare for them?
Unfortunately, many leaders debate these issues with academic discussions and confusing jargon. They are like philosophers trying to decide how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. At the same time, some businesses have brilliant answers to these questions – but can’t translate them into clear actions.
The big strategic planning questions are worthless if they don’t result in a few clear, compelling strategic initiatives to strengthen your organisation.
Two: Set a few clear priorities and an overall strategic theme.
The most important outcome of the first part of the strategic planning process is to identify the most important priorities for the organisation. Starting with a long list of potential priorities, the business should discuss the relative value of each, and hone in on the key ones. This discussion can also lead to greater clarity about the big strategic planning questions, especially about what the company can do best.
Once a list of no more than three to five priorities is agreed upon, the team can come up with a strategic theme. This is a one-line statement that conveys the overall strategic push for the company. it is not a strap-line. We’ve seen too many meaningless phrases on the sides of lorries racing up and down the motorway. Your one-line statement is the objective against which everything is measured for progress.
Many organisations settle for a long list of priorities. This has the benefit that nobody feels excluded or insulted. However, it makes it highly unlikely that the organisation will get anything done completely.
The biggest complaint we hear about strategy is that it never seems to get executed. There are a few reasons why:
– Neglecting to commit essential resources to the strategy, including capital, training, technology, and people.
– Failing to take things off the plate of busy employees, and instead just stacking more work on them.
– Failure to stop old initiatives that compete with the new.
– Not setting clear roles, responsibilities, accountability, and rewards systems.
– Giving up after a few setbacks or initial resistance.
A sound strategy spends as much time on implementation planning as it does on the more glamorous work of answering the key strategic questions and setting priorities.
Which of the above areas is weakest in your organisation? Some organisations are strong at asking the big picture questions, but fail to follow up. Some set too many priorities, and can’t say “no” to good ideas, despite limited resources. Others are strong at executing, but lack the vision to develop compelling strategic initiatives.
Thirdphase can help. We have a proven 3-part strategic planning process that is simple for you to implement, and gets results efficiently.
To find out how we can help you with a strategic review go HERE