Every serious reexamination of strategy varies based on the case for change, the experience with strategy, the extent of involvement desired and leadership's perspective on its core challenge. The development of strategy, though, is typically a multi-phase program that takes several days time over a period of two to three months. It draws on the knowledge and talent within the organization and the perspective of the board. Its immediate objectives are:
- To develop a comprehensive strategic plan;
- To build cohesion around current status and future aspirations, and;
- To enhance the capacity for strategic management by using it.
Naturally, the longer-term objective of the process is to improve business performance.
Phase One: Pre-Planning
- Confer with the CEO, key stakeholders and management to assess the situation
- Identify perceptions of the core challenge and the case for change
- Understand scope and intent of other change initiatives underway
- Review information needs based on core challenge
- Assign responsibility for pre-work
- Determine documentation requirements and methods
Phase Two: Develop a Collective Understanding of the Situation
Develop a Planning Base
- External Analysis...Environment, Industry, Market, Segments, Competitors, etc
- Internal Analysis...Businesses Processes, Core Competencies, etc
Develop a Broad Framework for the Future
- Vision, mission, fundamental beliefs, values and business principles
- Strategic Objectives
- "Business-as-usual" baseline and supportive assumptions
- Planning gaps and principle issues associated with objectives
Develop Strategies and Initiatives to Close the Planning Gaps
- Identify critical issues impeding progress toward objectives
- Develop tentative strategy, comparing it with current strategy
- Identify action plans consistent with strategy
- Assign responsibility and timeline for completion of action plans
Phase Three: Plan Finalization
- Confirm objectives and basic strategy
- Review and critique action plans
- Summarize action plans against baseline to validate objectives
- Revise objectives and action plans consistent with resource constraints
- Agree on organizational alignment requirements
- Identify current initiatives that are a questionable fit with strategy
- Develop procedures for periodic reviews
- Identify message and mechanisms for enrollment of other stakeholders
So where does the Board weigh in?
Develop a "launch pack" for the process specifying the "boundary conditions" for the company's plan...vision, aspirations, basic policies and risk-management directives.
Follow phase two with a focused review of critical issues, alternative futures and fundamental choices regarding identity and direction.
Close Phase Three with adoption or modification of the plan as consistent with boundary conditions set forth in the "launch pack".
Approve or adjust the budget as "price tag" on the first year of a multi-year strategy, ensuring infrastructure adjustments as necessary to ensure execution.
Nearly 70% of all strategic plans never get implemented. Our approach is to design a process for the realities of your situation against a classic framework, maintaining a constant focus on what it will take to "enjoy success".