I have been hearing, reading, and speaking with senior executives about strategy development. And why they are moving away from developing strategy that is intended to carry the organization for five or six years into the future.
I was glad to hear this news. The advancement of technology, social context, and attention span of customers dictate the need for strategy development to focus on the next 18 to 24 months. And serious reviews every six months.
Strategy development for the shorter period, 18 to 24 months, vice the five to six-year standard, does not mean you cut corners in the development process. Here are three, to the point “Do’s and one Don’t” that will keep your strategy development on track.
Start your strategy development with a clear, concise, shared vision statement. A vision is a direction, not a destination. If your vision statement indicates how much money the organization is going to make or how much of the market the organization will have, you have missed the mark.
A vision statement is a direction; it is the BIG why.
Identify the organization’s core values. Leadership cannot be everywhere, and those who touch your customers and vendors must carry themselves in a fashion that is professional and reflects credit on the organization.
Particularly worthy of note is to include cultural expectations. The days of off colored jokes and sexual comments, touching, and outright assault are gone. Social responsibility and respect must be part of the strategy.
Identify the Driving Force/s. Driving force are those strategic areas which exert the most significant influence on the organization. Is the Driving Force production capability or method of sale? Is it markets served or is it market share? Is the company being grown to sell or grown to compete long term?
It is good to know if you are a Wal-Mart or a Nordstrom. It makes a difference when developing your strategy.
Put the document on the shelf when it is done.
Develop the execution plan. How is the organization going to execute what has taken time and effort to produce? What is the procedure to monitor the execution? How often will the plan be reviewed? What is the communication plan? How will the strategy and execution plan be resourced? A plan without resources has a name—a hallucination.
This article could become a small book when it comes to effective strategy development. I have included just a few points where strategy development, to be effective, must include.
I take my reader’s attention to bullet #2 in the Do section, effective gender integration as part of the strategy. In short, companies that have integrated women effectively across the spectrum of the business, their profits outperform industry averages by 46%. Not only is it the right thing to do it is the profitable thing to do.
A business’ strategy document is one of the single most important documents it has. Don’t plan out to five or six years, don’t cut corners, and don’t put it on the shelf.