18 August 2017
By Lloyd Snowden, Associate at Oliver Wight
Having followed Part I of our Top Tips for Managing the Strategic Planning Process, you should now have assessed the internal and external business environment, defined your vision, mission and values, developed your strategic plan and understood that decisions made today will have a positive effect for tomorrow. Now it’s time to solidify your strategic plan and establish some great habits for future business success:
Your strategic plan should be waiting in writing, alongside copious information you’ve recorded in guiding your strategic process. So, you are now ready to deploy this across the breadth of your organisation, cascading material down through the business. As a result, each and every individual will understand your long-term plans, mission and vision, and get behind them.
Sounds easy? It’s simple but not straightforward. You’ll need a proper deployment process, which prioritises your SBOs (strategic business objectives) and determines the skills and capabilities you need for projects. Your existing corporate communications infrastructure can be used for this torrent of information. This will ensure the greatest possible understanding and commitment throughout the organisation, as well as facilitating valuable peer-to-peer discussion. By the end, each employee should have grasped their role in the strategic plan and have clear targets and objectives.
How are things going? You’ll only know if you set up both formal and informal periodic reviews at all levels to confirm everything is on track. The external business environment is constantly evolving and unforeseen changes will occur. Therefore, the strategic plan needs to be continually reviewed to ensure it remains relevant to the organisation under the prevailing circumstances.
Furthermore, try to ensure the strategic plan is systematically and rigorously analysed for risk; contingency plans exist to mitigate identified risks. As well as including a monthly review of the strategic plan into your Integrated Business Planning process, there are two other important additional reviews you should conduct: an annual diagnostic review of the strategy deployment, plus six-monthly informal reflection reviews, involving key staff members.
Monitoring is one thing, measuring is another. You’ll need a set of balanced measures to assess your performance against your strategic business objectives, and to drive improvement. These measures should be hierarchically structured and integrated so the impact of performance on the business is clearly visible and understood by everyone.
All too often when implementing business transformation programmes, organisations launch into tackling their processes with enthusiasm, but overlook the importance of their people. If you want to implement a sustainable strategic plan, it is essential you recognise that people are the key drivers and that success depends on your organisation’s ability to cultivate the right environment for change. You’ll need strong leadership, shared ownership and up and down the organisation and excellent communication. Harnessing the unique skills, talents and proficiencies of your team, with individual accountabilities, ensures success across the whole business. This blog is based on Chapter One of The Oliver Wight Class A Standard for Business Excellence. To read the seventh edition of our essential guide to business improvement, please click here.