Strategic Planning for Business Success

Strategic Planning for Business Success

Defining “Everyone Rises”

At humanworks8, we believe Everyone Rises. How do we create processes and systems that help us rise to the challenge of reaching or exceeding our individual and organization goals? It starts with people – the people who work within those systems and elevate them in a way that creates clarity, confidence and accountability at every level of the organization.

Rising in an organization occurs both for the individual and the business itself through establishing and operationalizing a foundational way of working. The heart of that element in an organization is its strategy and planning process – its way of creating a vision for every team for alignment of actions and goals. This provides the direction to move the business toward its reason for being and to reach its ultimate mark on the world or for its customers.

There are two very common ways we have seen organizations do this:

Option 1: Meet once a year and create a 64-slide PowerPoint presentation that outlines the goals for the next year.

Some of these end up with a lot of words and thoughts on every PowerPoint slide…and the outcome is a PowerPoint presentation that is rarely used, referred to or looked at again.

Option 2: Hire a new consultant with a new approach annually or every other year.

Is this year battles and wars and is next year rocks or big hairy goals?

These two ways of strategic planning contribute to the frustrating statistic that 48% of all organizations fail to meet at least half of their strategic targets. A strategy must be agile and executable. Stop the madness and elevate from your point of view based on your business needs!

Elements of an Organization’s Way of Working

Clarify and align around the vision, then build efficiency and accountability around the action. This is the start of creating your organization’s WAY.

What are the elements of an organization’s WAY?

  • The Vision
  • The Action
  • The Life – Your People.
  • The System – Processes, your leadership model and everything from how you run a meeting to how you onboard a new employee.

Evaluating Your Organization’s Way

What is your organization’s WAY? What is your method or manner of doing things? What is the path you lead every employee up and down?

You already have a WAY, but would it appear helter-skelter or intentional and disciplined?

Is it clear, simple and consistent or would you call it confusing, complex and varying?

Is it held together by strong bonds of trust and alignment amongst your leadership team or is it a mechanism for finger pointing and is not used for priorities? Strong or frail?

Having one WAY of aligning leaders and every contributor to your organization’s success is a must have for incremental growth and incremental culture building.

Executive Leadership Challenges

These three questions are ones we’re asked often by executive leaders and business owners:

How do we become more efficient and get momentum and action quicker?

It’s critical to have a schedule and time set aside for your business cadence at the start of every year. Set the vision and annual goals for the new year in the fourth quarter of the preceding year.

Devote a full day to planning and strategy time for this critical discussion and alignment. You use what you need based on the outcomes and challenges that have occurred.

Leaders leave the discussion with their re-aligned direction and priorities that can be put into action immediately. They discuss regularly in 1:1s and team meetings, and provide monthly updates on what’s on or off track. Leader who don’t are among the 48% of business leaders who spend less than one day per month discussing strategy.

Re-visit the plan quarterly or at the 6-month point. Set your practice, build your discipline.

How do we learn from our successes and failures, and then leverage that knowledge for what’s next?

Build into your practice time to transform and innovate from what has occurred every 90 days. Capture the outcomes and learnings for every major initiative – don’t let them reside only in what you remember later.

Don’t fix it and forget it. Use the learning and carry it forward.

How do we hold people accountable?

People hold themselves accountable if they commit to aligned vision and what actions they will take on quarterly basis. Commitment leads to focused action.

Commitment comes from allowing those responsible to build their plans and ways of accomplishing outcomes that meet the vision for the year. Everyone presents their action plans in the same format for clarity and quick understanding, and those plans are aligned across teams for support needed.

Everything is out in the open. Accountability and priorities become a mindset versus a mind game.

Finding Your Way

What does it take to reach that point, where there is natural momentum, learning, and accountability? Open discussion, debate, and challenge. That’s what should be happening quarterly in any successful company, building a culture that values and supports this type of interaction in a safe environment. 

If you start down this path you will end up with a clear line of sight for everyone in the organization focused on the work they are doing and how it connects to the overall vision of the company. If people can see that, they are with you.

Focus on the Business

The final element we find helps organizations get better results? The company’s leadership focusing on the business – not trying to facilitate the process. There’s value in an outside objective facilitator to guide the conversation and to capture the outcomes. It allows leaders to have their heads entirely focused on company growth and alignment, versus taking notes or keeping time.

Try it Out

Send us your latest and greatest strategic planning document and let our team put it into our WAY framework.

We won’t let the wrong format or process get in the way of the ultimate strategic planning goal: Clarity – Commitment – Alignment.

Let’s find your WAY…

Listen to this post in podcast form in episode six of the Culture(&) Podcast, part of the GGG Unleashed series, and subscribe to hear more about workplace culture and leadership.