Quite often organizations either spend an inordinate amount of time on strategic planning or absolutely none at all. Which is correct? Inevitably the answer lies somewhere in between. However you choose to proceed, there are some fundamentals that must always be considered; then put the energy into ensuring execution. So what are these fundamentals?
What is the desired destination? Start off with the end in mind by creating a goal or intended outcome. This may seem difficult and full of unknowns but give it your best guess; you must commit.
2. Identify Key Strategic Initiatives
List the primary drivers of the business that will allow you reach this destination. This requires some honest debate, consensus and then loyalty once agreement is reached.
3. Specify Primary Indicators
Create a scorecard, set targets and track the results (not the activities) that will drive these initiatives. What gets measured truly gets done, but only if 3 and 4 below are rigorously followed as well.
4. Communicate Expectations
Identify clearly the appropriate teams and individuals responsible and convey expectations relative to the targets associated with these indicators. Have those that are responsible then plan and articulate back how this will be accomplished.
5. Ensure Accountability
Create an appropriate system of meetings, coaching and performance management to ensure that teams and individuals are held accountable and remain committed to the desired outcomes.
6. Plan for Setbacks
Finally, the unknown will inevitably happen, which knocks you off course and creates a shortfall against expectations. Ongoing innovation and continuous improvement are the contingencies for these eventualities. Make sure they exist.
Adherence to the above will set the tone and go along way towards aligning everybody, building collaboration, and ensuring the necessary commitment to realizing the desired results.