Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. At Thanksgiving, we take the time to stand back and realize how many things we have to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is about connecting those dots.
Strategy is much the same. It is about standing back and connecting the impact dots. The difficulty is that while it is easy to remember the many things you are thankful for; it is quite a different story when it comes to knowing all the things that impact your business. In the strategic planning work that Group50 Consulting has done, we find that senior leaders spend too much time working “in the business” rather than “on the business”. As a result, it is easy for them know and understand day to day impacts and much more difficult to identify all the other impacts that the business faces.
Even in successful businesses, connecting all the dots means that you must find them first, which is a task that needs to be done methodically. In our experience developing strategic pillars has to include internal as well as external factors. It requires a deep understanding of markets, competitors, financials, products, supply chains, regulations and organizations.
An effective strategic plan requires that you understand the most important goal in the business and how to achieve it focusing on strategies and key business levers. A robust strategic planning process will peel back the layers to find the strategic and operating gaps that exist in the company. Once those are understood, leaders will find that business processes, organizational capabilities, market forces, and many other things stand in the way. Strategies and tactics which address the things standing in the way define the dots that need to be connected.
Once the strategic plan is completed, the hard work of execution still lies ahead. Strategic execution requires cascading objectives that close strategic and operating gaps and holds the organization accountable to those objectives. Our experience is that this is not a trivial task and every company we have worked with struggles with strategic execution. More insight can be gained to both strategy and its execution by understanding the Business Hierarchy of Needs.
Take a look at the Group50 strategic planning process and ask yourself if your strategic planning and strategic execution processes are robust enough. If not, feel free to call me to discuss.
Again, wishing you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
Jim Gitney, CEO, Group50 Consulting
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