It's been said that businesses are living things. Why wouldn't you want the strategic plan that sets its direction and defines its tactics to be a living thing, too?
Like companies, which must respond and react to the dynamics of a wildly and rapidly changing business environment, the strategic plans that propel businesses forward must evolve and change in order to stay relevant and remain vital. In fact, it is by keeping your strategic planning an everyday thing that you help your business to better anticipate and adapt to the changes, challenges and opportunities in real time. Indeed, it is how you can help your business become an industry disruptor.
How To Put It Into Motion?
There are several things to consider when committing to making strategic planning an everyday thing. These are practices that I've helped countless clients successfully put into action:
Adopt an outsider's point-of-view. Take the time to take an intellectual break from by a company insider and see your business from a customer, vendor or strategic partner point-of-view. When you do this, you can better see the possibilities that come from a wider perspective. It gives you the time and space needed to consider how new conditions in the business environment may affect your business and what you may want to do to get ahead of them.
Push your people to see the bigger picture. Encourage your people to look past the work at hand and think more broadly about the business, its customers and the environment in which the company operates. You can accomplish this by regularly engaging them in conversations about the "big picture." If you can get them to think past the obvious everyday issues that they need to address, it is likely that they will begin to contribute their thinking about how to make the business better.
Dive deeper into the daily grind. Work with your team to clearly identify and articulate the challenges and opportunities that they face every day, on the job. Use the ideas that come out to identify and shape potential new initiatives for consideration and inclusion in the strategic plan.
Monitor progress and adjust as needed. Put into place and use performance measuring systems that can address these kinds of simple questions:
- Are we doing this work in the most appropriate way?
- Are we achieving the best results?
- Are our customers delighted?
Taking stock of how your team is doing can lead to creative thinking about what can be added to the strategic plan to help the business get more done.
As a final note, when you fully embrace an everyday strategic planning mindset, you may find that some of your current initiatives may need to take a different direction than the one originally conceived. You may find that you have new ideas for new initiatives that are better suited for the future than the ones that presently sit in your strategic plan. That's alright. Like a winning football coach, it is essential for victory to be decisive and make needed mid-course adjustments as you play the game.