Why, What and How? Strategic Planning White Paper
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Why, What and How? Strategic Planning White Paper

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Why, What and How? Three Critical Questions that Most Businesses Never Fully Answer. Is your business one of them?

Why, What and How? Three Critical Questions that Most Businesses Never Fully Answer. Is your business one of them?

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  • 1. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. Why?, What? and How? Three Critical Questions that Most Businesses Never Fully Answer. Is your business one of them? By: Jerry Scher, Principal & Paula Collins, Founder Contents Introduction Introduction . . . . . . . . . 1 Businesses today are confronting intensifying competition, a shortage of well trained/motivated employees and highly effective sales professionals, Preparation . . . . . . . . . 1 disruptions to historical revenue streams and continuous challenges Begin with the End in Mind . . 2 to their “business as usual” structures. Organizations capable of planning effectively are positioned to respond to this dynamic business Current State of Affairs . . . . 2 environment as well as leveraging all of their business’ assets. Facilitation. . . . . . . . . 2 Whether you are directing the activities of an entire organization or only one component of the organizations’ program of work, the same It’s Not Just the Plan, It’s the framework applies. The capability of the organization to optimize assets Planning. . . . . . . . . . 2 (i.e. capital, human, market opportunities) to achieve its’ ultimate vision Learning Theory. . . . . . . 4 and mission is contingent upon having a clear road map to success. This roadmap must answer the fundamental questions of Why?, What? and Maximize Your Organizations’ How?. Performance via Disciplined Planning. . . . . . . . . . 5 All too often, employees respond to both internal and external forces without a clear view of the organization’s vision, mission, goals and Strategic Planning Definitions . 5 objectives. Without team buy-in and alignment, valuable resources are Strategic Planning Model. . . 7 wasted on efforts that ultimately fall short of the desired results. They fail because the team was not focused on a carefully designed and About the Author . . . . . . 8 communicated strategic game plan. Stop and think of a time when your team was disengaged. Perhaps they were playing the “blame game” while you were asking yourself why they didn’t understand what was expected from them. Or, maybe they were wearing themselves out running around fighting fires. These conditions are more often than not the result of insufficient or ineffective planning. Preparation A successful planning process requires careful preparation and, instead of wasting time experimenting, should be conducted using a proven planning process. Based on what you want to accomplish, you should carefully consider the time that will be allotted for the process. Determine where the meeting will be conducted and select a location that will permit uninterrupted participation. Depending upon the focus of the planning session, pre-meeting materials should be circulated in advance so that each participant will have the opportunity to study the background information that is available. www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved.Page 1 Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
  • 2. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. Consequences of This will engage people in the research and discovery process that is Reactive Management necessary and save a great deal of precious time when the meeting begins. Surveying participants in advance about their positions will not ▲▲ Missed opportunities only stimulate their thinking about key issues but will also assist you in ▲▲ Wasted resources gaining insight into how people are thinking. You can summarize their pre- ▲▲ Internal conflicts meeting input and have your and the blaming facilitator share it as a part of an opening presentation. syndrome ▲▲ Inability to recruit Begin With the End In Mind and hire talented employees Would you depart on a trip without determining your final destination? ▲▲ Excessive turnover Probably not! The planning process begins with a basic question; if we are highly successful by (set a time frame), what will it look and feel ▲▲ Lackluster profits like? Completing this participatory exercise with your planning team will ▲▲ Dissatisfied provide clarity, define expectations and create a shared vision. stakeholders . Most organizations are Current State of Affairs more accomplished at reactive management With a clear, agreed upon description of your expectations for the future, than adhering to a well it is critical that your team describe the current state of affairs from a developed Strategic Plan. wide range of perspectives. This process should incorporate a variety If you are experiencing of interactive communication exercises to encourage open and honest some (or worse, most) of dialogue. All team participants need a chance to be heard. these symptoms, its time you took a hard look at During this process you must identify the organization’s strengths and your planning process, weaknesses, and describe the internal and external conditions that will and embrace an effec- inhibit and/or contribute to the organization’s success. tive, proven approach to Prepare yourself for a diverse view of the status quo; participants should planning - a model that describe what their reality is based on their personal perspective. This can be integrated into process is necessary in order to gain organizational clarity, and is best your overall business accomplished with an impartial facilitator. approach and/or utilized for selected key projects. Facilitation Either way, an effective, proven planning process Your facilitator can make all the difference to achieve an effective planning is an essential business session. This person needs to have very effective communications building tool and you skills, including the ability to ask good questions, listen actively and owe it to your business engage everyone in dialogue. The ability to design and redesign group to have your senior processes during the meeting, striking a balance between adhering to the management team, at preplanned process and getting the necessary results, is vital. the very least, learn this skill and participate fully Time management and the ability to keep the group focused are also in this level of planning, critical. Completion of the planning process must be accomplished in the starting immediately. allotted time and while the energy level is high. Many times, individuals www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved.Page 2 Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
  • 3. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. within the group can be difficult to manage throughout the planning process. Hidden agendas are often in play during the process. The facilitator must be able identify those agendas and effectively deal with them. For all these reasons, you should take great care in selecting your facilitator to ensure a successful planning session. It’s Not Just the Plan, It’s the Planning There is great value A well executed Strategic Planning process will result in a well defined in learning something plan as well as a team that has learned to better work together. The new that can be applied process of planning should be a creative, participatory activity daily in decision making involving the clarification of a shared vision and an understandable situations, especially in a statement of the current state of the organization. rapidly changing business environment like we’re As each stage of the process is accomplished, a written plan will emerge. experiencing today. The following must be answered: ▲▲ Why? ▲▲ What? ▲▲ How? Participants focus on the “Why?” as they research and examine the facts, internally and externally, and make assumptions about the future. As the “What?” is developed through identifying contributing and inhibiting factors, and writing concise goals and objectives, you will be creating the basic components of an accountability program. Realistic and measurable outcomes will be identified so that team participants will be clear about the organization’s expectations. Finally, the “How?” is answered in the form of actionable, behavioral strategies and tactics. The game plan will be designed and the appropriate resources will be allocated. Each person involved must understand their role in helping the organization accomplish the desired results, and the ways progress will be measured and recorded. There is great value in learning something new that can be applied daily in decision making situations, especially in a rapidly changing business environment like we’re experiencing today. Once this planning model is embedded in your organization and your team has developed the appropriate skill set, it can easily be used on an ongoing basis as new opportunities and/or challenges occur. www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved.Page 3 Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
  • 4. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. Learning Theory You must answer these questions for everyone in As with all new systems or structures introduced into an organization, your company: the effectiveness of the process will be determined by the team’s clear understanding or knowledge of the principles, a positive mindset that is ▲▲ What’s in it for the open to new ideas and approaches and a willingness to invest the time, company, and what’s energy and cooperative effort to change their behavior. in it for me? ▲▲ Why are we changing Knowledge, Attitude and Behavioral change are essential components to now? How does the success of any new initiative. this relate to my job specifically? Studies have demonstrated that another significant key to success in ▲▲ What are my embedding a Strategic Planning model into your organizations’ culture priorities? What do is planned and spaced repetition. All too often people are introduced you expect from me? to new information and skills and without a repetitive process of using the skills, they are easily forgotten. It has been said that “Knowledge is ▲▲ How will things be Power,” however more realistically, “Applied Knowledge is Power.” In measured? addition, while it has been said that “Practice Makes Perfect.” In truth is ▲▲ What new tools will I should be “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.” have to get this done? ▲▲ What happens if I Since behavioral change is required for success, the following three don’t get it done steps should be integrated in teaching this new planning approach to – what are the your organization: structure, support and accountability. To begin with, consequences? you must provide structure. Systems are required to have predictable outcomes. Provide an opportunity to not only learn the process but practice it within the given parameters of the systems you put in place. Embedding a disciplined Strategic Planning system in Next there must be support provided as people try these new skills. your organization will require Observe their behavior and provide positive coaching as they practice. a serious commitment on And, make sure they have access to all the tools they need to accomplish everyone’s part but will the tasks at hand. ultimately prove to be extremely valuable. Changing Finally, you must institute a program of accountability. To be successful, behavior is possible when there must be clarity at the level of “what’s my role, and what am I being a systematic approach of measured on?” Clearly define expectations and communicate them, along structure, support and with the consequences of noncompliance. accountability is utilized Provide multiple opportunities for give and take and make sure people – and virtually impossible know if they are or are not satisfying those clearly defined expectations. otherwise. www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved.Page 4 Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
  • 5. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. Maximize Your Organizations’ Performance via Disciplined Planning Successful organizations have a defined and shared vision. These organizations leverage the skills and competencies of their team members and execute with a high degree of effectiveness. Their team members are in alignment with the organization’s goals and objectives, and they are exceptionally focused on what they want to accomplish through well thought out business strategies. A team that performs “In the Zone” is characteristically well informed and displays both an intellectual and emotional “buy-in”; their energy is laser focused and they recognize the value of the role they play in achieving organizational and personal success. Now is the time to get started. You can lead your team to the highest level of success imaginable by developing and implementing a well defined and fully documented Strategic Plan. Strategic Planning Definitions Vision – Long-term aspirations, preferred future. A description of what your organization looks like in the years ahead if you are successful. Mission – A brief statement describing the overall purpose of your organization, focusing on your clients and how you serve them. Discovery Process/Research – Process by which you gather information about all internal and external forces that impact the organization, including assessment of capabilities and competencies of the organization, trends in your industry and your current and future competitors. Assumptive Process – Based on “what if” scenarios, the discovery and discussion of what you believe will come to pass in the future. Explicit and implicit assumptions can be vulnerabilities, a presumed fact, a judgment, or even an event critical to the overall success of the organization. Based on information gathered during discovery process and assessment of your research, assumptions are recorded about future opportunities as well as current and future needs of the organization. Main Opportunity – The overarching “big idea(s)” the organization wants to accomplish and about which the plan is being created. www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved.Page 5 Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
  • 6. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. Significant Factors – Conditions that inhibit or contribute to the attainment of one or more of the organization’s goals and objectives. What will work to your benefit, and what will get in the way of progress? This list should include internal and external forces as well as the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Goals – Logical components for achieving the Main Opportunity(ies), expressed as general and continuing long-term aims. Objectives – The specific, measurable, achievable steps toward accomplishment of a goal over a specified period of time. Strategies – Broad, general activities that are implemented to enable the organization to achieve its objectives while taking advantage of or overcoming significant factors. Iterative Loop – Continuous improvement process; steps necessary to execute strategies, including: ▲▲ Assessment - review of the information at hand ▲▲ Design - creation of action plans/tactics, with detailed specific activities that are to be executed to accomplish or implement a strategy ▲▲ Execution - carrying out the action plans/tactics including budgeting of resources, assigning and training staff, scheduling activities ▲▲ Adjustment - periodic review of progress to identify areas of potential improvement of efficiency and effectiveness of strategies/plans www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved.Page 6 Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
  • 7. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. Strategic Planning Model Vision & Mission Discovery Research Assumptive Process Main Opportunity (the Big Idea) Review of Significant Factors Contributing & Inhibiting - Situational Analysis Goal Goal Goal Objective Objective Objective Objective Objective Objective Objective Objective Objective Strategy Strategy Strategy Strategy Strategy Assess Investigate, determine if the approach is supported by data Adjust Design Assessment: Design / how can we redesign based improve this? Iterative Loop on experience, data, observations Execute Assign resources, schedule activities www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved.Page 7 Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
  • 8. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. About the Author Jerry Scher - Founder and Principal at Peak Focus . Jerry is well known as a business builder, c-level executive, conference speaker, trainer, facilitator, coach, entrepreneur, and mentor. Regardless of the title, the end result is the same–Jerry makes the people around him significantly more successful through his ability to simplify the complex, ask the right questions, and develop appropriate solutions to keep businesses and individuals moving forward. About Peak FocusPEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY.Peak Focus gives you the tools to grow, develop and strengthen your team. With a mix of resources thatwe’ve created ourselves, as well as several powerful tools we’ve carefully assessed and believe in, wecombine our passion and experience to guide companies and individuals toward optimized performance. Select your team members with confidence, help your key players develop their soft skills, and learn howto coach your entire team more effectively by engaging the experts at Peak Focus.For more information and access to free resources, please visit our website at www.peakfocuscoach.com.Engage With Us Free tools, resources & updates LIKE us on Facebook . Check out our blog Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn www.peakfocuscoach.com Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2012 • All rights reserved.Page 8 Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.