The spectrum of corporate strategic planning models and processes is broad, and the term has taken on many different connotations over recent decades. For organizations that are new to formal strategic planning, it can seem like a daunting task. It certainly does not have to be, and this article series is intended to help chief executives get on the right path to better corporate planning. Just compiling goals and timelines into a spreadsheet that gets sent along with a meaningless report in a binder doesn’t cut it. That becomes worthless data to all involved in the organization and will not accomplish the results strategic planning should accomplish. There is no “magic binder” of spreadsheets and PowerPoints that can perform miracles when it comes to strategy and the execution thereof.
What does gets included into the scope of strategic planning obviously will drive the time frame to develop the plan, but… the time invested in up-front planning saves far more time on the back-end when companies go to execute their strategy. Any shortcuts taken in strategic planning put the organization at risk of missing many critical points that proper planning should encompass.
Recapping What We’ve Covered So Far
In part one of this article series, we began by examining the benefits strategic planning brings to business organizations started covering the elements of a successful strategic plan.
In part two of the series, we went into an overview of what a strategic plan should address – at a minimum. In that same edition, a graphical depiction of the elements of strategic planning was introduced and we began walking through the layers of the graphical model, relating to the “business ecosystem”.
In part five and part six, we discussed the sub-topics of change management and communication. and how sub-strategies for these elements are far too often underestimated in terms of their importance and impact to strategy implementation.
Now let us finish the final part of the discussion we began last week related to the model below.
Organizational Design / Hierarchy and Process
The hierarchy of the organization will determine the best methods for communicating the strategy and is a major consideration in how messaging should be constructed. By hierarchy, we are referring to the way the organization architected and who reports to whom. The hierarchy also impacts the way accountabilities should be defined and outcomes measured. Unless reorganization is intended, the structure of the organization and the business process architecture will be “givens” that must be factored into planning.
At the center of the model are “core values”. Core values are broadly shared values of the company that are evidenced in the corporate culture and the general work ethic of the employees. Some refer to core values as a shared “value system”, meaning a group shares a common set of cultural and moral beliefs. Strong core values benefit the strategic planning effort and would generally be classified as an accelerator towards goal achievement. The exception to this generalization is in the case of a negative culture that is out of step with the organization’s leadership values. In that situation, core values become an inhibitor and must be changed over time to facilitate strategy achievement. In such circumstances, the strategic planning process would need to address transition strategies for changing corporate core values.
Inhibitors need to be identified because they are roadblocks to progress. Conversely, Accelerators, once identified, promote rapid progress. Both are essential to know and leverage or mitigate as the case may be.
Join the discussion again next week.