Many times companies have asked us if we could come in and lead them through a one or two day strategic planning exercise. We choose not to accept those engagements. We have learned over time that the process is the most important element of a strong strategic plan. It is the time spent together working through the process which yields results. Without spending enough time and doing a deep dive there will not be a successful implementation. Too many plans end up on the shelf gathering dust until next year’s effort.
Here are the critical components for a successful process:
- 1. Executive Leadership Support
It is imperative from the start for the CEO and President to support, champion and strongly endorse this process.
- 2. Selecting a proper team.
You’ll need at least 4 people and no more than 6 on the planning team. The team should be a good cross-section of all major functions in your firm.
- 3. The Team Must Understand All the Steps of the Process at the Start
There are different methods for completing a strategic plan. TurboExecs uses the Balanced Scorecard method. The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a multidimensional framework for describing, implementing and managing strategy at all levels of an enterprise by linking objectives, measures and initiatives to an organization’s strategy. BSC provides an enterprise view of an organization’s overall performance by integrating financial measures with other key performance indicators around customer perspectives, internal business processes, and organizational growth, learning and innovation. Spend some time talking about how this process will work and what will be required along the way. This team will be working with others outside of the group and they need to be able to see the big picture.
- 4. You’ll Need a Team Leader
This can be an internal person if they understand the process and have the respect of all team members. Often times, this person is an unbiased third party who has done this many times. Whomever you choose, they will need to be able to manage all of the personalities and conflict. The team leader will need to watch out for pitfalls in the group dynamics. For example, a common issue is having one person in the group who constantly dominates the conversation.
- 5. Build in an Audit Plan
To make sure your plan does not sit on the shelf, require periodic audits post planning. These can be monthly or quarterly, and many firms ask their team leader to manage this reporting.
We hope these ideas help you as you embark on your next strategic plan.