Strategic planning &/or process – what are you?

posted in: Blog, Uncategorized | 0

Reinventing the the Strategic Planning PROCESS!


Strategic Planning and Execution

When you consider or actually enter into a strategic planning process, do you ever question what it really is all about?  Specifically, can you identify from year to year if the plan has truly been transformed into a living breathing process, or is a plan that is reviewed each year or time that you actually do strategic planning? 

In most cases we have been trained to plan, which usually translates, at nausea, going and doing an off site session where we meet for hours on end, talk about the business, write a bunch of things down, supposedly items that are or will become the strategic plan, do some fun things during this offsite, and then come back with a satisfying plan that eventually makes it way into a “White Binder”.  The question then, is what happens to it and where and how does it transcend into the business or does it?

In most cases when strategic planning is done, it is just that, a plan and not a process.  In order for strategy to full effective it must become a process.  Without this how can you possibly know what you are executing upon and whether or not the results match what you want?

The stats are consistent, where most CEO’s relate that they cannot truly know what they are executing upon and whether everyone is executing on and against the same strategies.  This in of itself is a huge problem for our businesses.  If we do not have a clear understanding, of measuring results, and managing to and for change, then what is that we are measuring and managing and how can you possibly know if the results are supporting the same strategies and that everyone knows what these strategies are???

The stats:

  • 95% of a typical workforce doesn’t understand its organization’s strategy
  • 90% of organizations fail to execute their strategies successfully
  • 86% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy
  • 60% of organizations don’t link strategy to budgeting

With these known facts, why do we consistently and constantly continue to do the same things and obviously achieve the same results.  

In most corporations Strategy execution is a dismal failure. If the military and 

sports teams performed as well on strategy as corporations do, they would 

lose the battle and/or war, and end up on at the bottom of the rankings respectively. Yet, very little attention has been paid to strategy execution. Instead, most of the research focuses on strategy creation, thus planning over process and results.

What is missing from research on the strategy execution problem  is a comprehensive approach to strategy execution — one that addresses not only the managerial portion of strategy alignment and execution, yet also, what we call the S3 (Simple Strategic Solutions) which address the 3 strategic resources every business has:  people, process and finances and for good measure add in cultural and organizational factors. 

The reason that has been identified and consistently shown for this “failure” to convert a plan into a process and thus executable results, is that starting at the top, the leadership team is not on the same page…yes you read correctly – not on the same page!  

If you were truly honest with yourselves and you as the CEO or business leader, then you should ask and only ask, do not diagnose, the following questions to your leadership team?

  •  What is the company vision?
  •  What are the businesses top 3 to 5 business strategies?

What you will get will be astounding.  The vision, should be clear and concise, and basically the 30 second elevator pitch that everyone knows and can say about who and what the company is, where you are and is actionable.  Something that truly will promote the listener, competition, et al to stand up and listen and ask more.  The strategies are not the laundry list of “initiatives” that are created for each business leader for their respective groups, yet it is about the overall business strategies that support the vision and again are known to all, so that all tasks and activities that are done are measured against, to and about the same things.  Only this will truly allow you to know what is being executed upon and have the ability to course correct on timely and for the right reasons.  You can then find where things are done well, where risks exist, and if truly the right resourcing exists – people, processes, finances – to support the strategies for execution and results, or if things need to be changed!

It is not what you know that keeps you up at night and meeting the common and alarming stats of poor execution, it is what you don’t know.  So if this is the case why not take back the simplistic approach of getting everyone on the same page of knowing what they are measuring and managing to and against?  

This is where and why we say that now is the time to Re-invent the strategic planning process.  Combine technology that assists in supporting key measurements against the Vision and Strategies so that you can measure what “you don’t know and keeps you up at night”.  Combining technology with strategy consultation, implementation, alignment and execution = RESULTS!

So take charge.

As they say the facts are the facts.   Shocking these statistics about strategy execution should provide a wake up call to you, as they are talking about you.  

  • 85% percent of management teams spend less than one-hourmonth on strategy issues
  • 27% of a typical company’s employees have access to its strategic plan.
  • 92% of organizations do not report on lead performance indicators.
  • 90% of well-formulated strategies fail due to poor execution.
  • 60% of typical organizations do not link their strategic priorities to their budget.
  • 66% of HR and IT organizations develop strategic plans that are not linked to the organization’s strategy.
  • 70% of middle managers and more than 90% of front-line employees have compensation that is not linked to the strategy.
  • Most devastating, 95% of employees do not understand their organization’s strategy.

So again we ask why is it so difficult to build a strategic plan and even more so to execute that plan?  It usually breaks down into the unknowns  – Lack of Communication, Lack of Accountability and Lack of Alignment, Lack of Measurement, Lack of Management and of course Lack of Execution and RESULTS.

Several years ago Harris Research conducted a study for Stephen Covey (of Franklin Covey), to understand how to better lead an organization toward successful strategy execution. Here are some of its findings:

  • Only 30 percent of companies actually reach their goals
  • Only 15 percent of employees can identify their company’s goals and priorities
  • 51 percent of employees don’t understand what they need to do to meet the goals
  • 51 percent work on things that are urgent but not important
  • 81 percent feel no ownership in getting the goals completed

Unfortunately the needle on these stats have not changed much if at all.

Isn’t it time that you and your business became a different statistic.  So what are you waiting for.  The excuse is of not having time, or that we are in flux or have to much going on should never be your excuse for strategic alignment, execution and results.  Your main responsibility is to get everyone on the same page and executable consistent results.  

 You must figure out a way that you can combine the technology, ability to measure, and the management, the ability to communicate, and how they can get on the same page consistently, so that you are not adding more to you and your businesses to do’s, yet you are streamlining the other systems and processes so that the plan becomes a process and execution becomes the norm and not the exception.

Reinvent the strategic planning process into a process for execution and results.

Strategic Planning

Call today to find out more about taking your planning to a process – 866.712.5446.


Comments are closed.