Strategic planning is a critical competency for successful organizations, yet most well-intended strategies fail to deliver. For 15 years we’ve provided the expert knowledge, advice, guidance, and temporary capabilities that make sure our client’s strategies aren’t among those that fail.
We offer a comprehensive suite of strategic planning services that span the discipline’s full breadth from environmental scans to the development and implementation of corporate planning methodologies. Let us provide the tools, techniques, experience, insights and facilitation to make your strategy a success.
Environmental scans identify the major trends in the political, economic, social, technological, and competitive environments that will affect your organization’s future. For your management team to successfully navigate your organization through an ever-changing world they first need to agree on what those trends are.
Competitive Analysis involves identifying and ranking your organization’s major competitors by geography, market share, product, and customer segment. We look at where they’re gaining and losing and identify the qualities contributing to that movement.
The SWOT analysis explores your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. To be of value it needs to be completed with rigor. It’s not enough to produce meaningless lists devoid of context. When we facilitate your organization’s Strategic Planning effort, ‘meaning’ remains at the forefront at all times.
Values Statement Formulation
A values statement explains what the organization cares about. It is foundational to its culture & ethics and provides the equivalent of a moral compass guiding decision-making for employees and other stakeholders. When we facilitate the formulation of a values statement we frame the discussion by identifying what has made certain people fit, or misfit, the organization.
Mission Statement Formulation
Mission statements briefly state what the organization does, where it does it, and who it does it for. Unlike a vision it rarely changes over time and should not describe any future achievement. We often approach the formulation of a mission statement by asking what the impact would be if the organization suddenly ceased to exist. The question usually provokes many ideas, and through discussion we refine them to a core; ultimately producing short, succinct statements.
A vision statement describes the organization’s desired future state. It typically also explains why. The statement should articulate the leadership team’s collective ambition and as such it should be a motivating force. When we guide the formulation of a vision statement we frame the question, “What will the company will look like in the future?” in the context of the change pressures it must overcome to get there.
Strategy Formulation & Strategy Mapping
Strategy formulation starts by deriving tangible “Strategic Goals” from the organization’s vision. These represent the overall outcome of the strategy. Once the goals are clear they can be broken down into a series of manageable objectives that together lay out “how” the vision will be achieved. These represent the outcomes, expectations, improvements and investments needed to achieve the goals. Strategic objectives can also be organized to clearly define, and justify, strategies for: growth, marketing, product development, organizational development, etc.
Strategy formulation is often at the heart of our consulting engagements as our strategy maps form the basis for many of the subsequent strategic planning stages. We offer a variety of specialized strategy mapping services.
If you don’t have a target how will you know whether you’re getting there? Metrics are often the distinguishing factor between an organization successfully achieving their goals, or failing to do so. Without performance measurements for your goals and objectives it is impossible to set a target and gauge your progress towards it. Many management teams avoid establishing performance measurements by claiming there is no specific metric for the goal under consideration. In our experience we’ve found that everything can be measured, even if only indirectly, and that measurement motivates success.
When small and mid-size enterprises are strategic planning, they often combine initiative portfolio design, initiative initialization, and detailed project planning into a single “Action Planning” activity. Larger organizations tend to treat them as three separate phases of their strategic planning process. Sometimes they break initiative portfolio planning down even further to separate out project prioritization, business case development, etc. During our strategic planning engagements we scale the process to suit the client’s needs.
Strategy Operationalization & Budgeting
Strategy operationalization is making sure that each department allocates the resources & budgets necessary to support the initiatives. It is a very challenging part of the strategic planning process especially for decentralized organizations. Here, resource limitations create resistance to centrally driven activities that dislodge local priorities. We find it often helps to separate “operational” and “discretionary” resources. This way we can encourage the allocation of discretionary resources to activities that have the greatest, strategic, benefit for the organization as whole.
Implementation governance is the discipline that ensures the initiatives are properly executed. This can include monitoring and reporting progress, escalating problems, making changes and measuring the benefits. We find that many companies’ existing management systems can be adjusted to ensure progress remains visible and transparent.
The annual planning process rolls each planning stage into an annual calendar of management activity that designs, updates and implements your strategy. Most organizations do most of these activities but they are not always properly integrated. We guide clients as they organize their activities into an integrated annual process that ensures the information required for each step is available when it’s needed.