If your team is truly challenging the fundamental assumptions of the business and seeking to generate new insights that will lead to competitive advantage, beginning with the numbers can crush that exploratory spirit. Instead, the agenda should have a methodical review of the visual models. The intent of these models is to facilitate a rich dialogue between team members on the market, customer, competitor and company issues.
Step 3: Strategic Planning
Once the four areas of the business have been mined for new insights using the strategic thinking models, we turn our attention to how these insights affect the current plan. Do the insights indicate we need to make fundamental changes to the goals and objectives (what we're trying to attain) or the strategy and tactics (how we'll attain them)? This is also the appropriate time to discuss financial performance, milestone attainment and other metrics.
This is where it is essential for team members to each have a 1-2 page tool that they use to link the strategic plan with their daily activities. Let's face it: no one is going to plunge into the strategic plan stuffed in the three-ring binder, find the exact places that need changes, make the changes and then refer to it on a regular basis.
A tool such as the StrategyPrint captures the key insights in market, customers, competitors and company on page one and then outlines the strategy and action plan on page two. This two-page blueprint for the business is easy to modify and stays relevant: two keys to keeping your strategy fresh.
Step 4: Strategy Rollout
The Strategy Tune-up workshop should conclude with a summary of what-who-when. What are the key initiatives? Who is responsible for the initiatives? And when is the time frame for completion? Consideration for who should receive communication on these changes and the appropriate communication vehicles is also an important part of the wrap-up.
Rich Horwath is an author, professor and speaker who helps organizations create competitive advantage through strategic thinking. He is the president of the Strategic Thinking Institute, a former Chief Strategy Officer and author of the book Deep Dive: The Proven Method for Building Strategy. Visit www.strategyskills.com to sign-up to receive your free copy of the monthly e-publication Strategic Thinker.