Are you good or just lucky?

Strategy is an over-used word. Strategic planning is considered by many to be a waste of time. A significant percentage of companies don’t even have a plan. So the question becomes: ‘Are you good or just lucky?’

For those of you who think strategic planning is a waste of time, you can stop reading right now. I’m not here to try to convince you when you see no reason to plan. For those of you who think there’s value in it but you just haven’t found the right way to do it for your organization – well there’s some hope for you.

The Worst Ideas

Here are some classic bad ideas when it comes to business or strategic planning.

  1. Hire a firm to write a strategic plan for you.
  2. Write an extensive plan to be put into a 3-ring binder, or better yet bound, which can then be nicely displayed on the shelf only to collect dust for the next 11 months.
  3. You create a strategy but do not imbed it into the operational fabric of the company. It exists separately from what you do every day.
  4. You believe the future will replicate the past.
  5. You decide to change your market focus, re-arrange the deck chairs and figure that’s going to do it. Yep, good as done.

The Best Ideas

  1. Use the strategic planning process to get outside of your daily thought process. Use it as a mental exercise to engage in discussion about the future. Use the process to produce innovative and creative ideas that can serve as the core framework to design the company’s future.
  2. Think big picture – about the market, the organization’s design, the culture. How will each impact what you want the future to look like? How will you need to respond to or change each of these to achieve your future state?
  3. Operationalize your strategy so that it is well known throughout the company and becomes the way you do business. Take the strategic goals and think about what the key priorities, actions, and measurement will be.
  4. Figure out what you’re going to stop doing. You have your Goals, Key Priorities, Actions and Tracking, everyone should know what to focus on. Your staff should only be doing activities that support these on a daily basis. If what they’re doing doesn’t support the above, you should think long and hard as to why they’re doing it. Some people have trouble letting go of what they’re accustomed to doing; it’s comfortable. But in order to meet your goals, everyone has to focus on what needs to be done, not what they’ve done in the past.

By creating a strong plan that considers the market forces, the operations, and your organization, as well as how you lead and manage for this new future, you should achieve these outcomes:

  • A stronger competitive position
  • The desired organizational focus
  • Increased revenues
  • Increased profitability
  • Improved efficiencies
  • Improved effectiveness
  • Increased operational efficiency

If you don’t achieve these, you’re not doing it right. Seek help.


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