By Jeff Brunings
Growth is About Making Choices – What Will You Choose to Stop Doing?

Good strategic planning is about building a roadmap from where you’re at today to where you want your organization to be in the future. It’s about making choices that impact the utilization of resources, budget, people, systems, and processes. A roadmap reflects these choices and the coordinated actions required to execute. But what goes in a roadmap is just as important as what’s left out.

Achieving organizational growth requires trade-offs. Often, strategies fail in execution due to lack of resources and prioritization. What began as coordinated alignment breaks down. Teams become fragmented and the execution of strategy becomes nothing more than business-as-usual.

Consider this, the Q2 2016 Vistage CEO Confidence Index Report cites CEO’s as becoming increasingly less rosy about the health and vitality of their organizations. The report reveals the CEO Confidence Index has fallen to its lowest level in three years, down to 88.8 from last year’s 99.0. According to the study’s 1,300 respondents, CEOs are predominately concerned about the country’s economic outlook and that developing new products or services is a top issue.

According to the report 73% of CEOs said the centerpiece of their strategic plan was either entry into new markets or adding new products and services. Undoubtedly, the execution of these endeavors will further stretch finite resources currently applied to existing priorities.

Remember, what goes in your growth roadmap is just as important as what’s left out. To start doing things often requires an organization to stop doing other things. While designing your strategy consider these factors to help determine the stop-investments required to allocated time, money, and energy toward pursuing portfolio expansions:

  1. Establish your planning assumptions: What are the assumptions going into the planning process? Will growth be attained with existing resources? Is there commitment to add resources? What’s the budget? Ideally, the budget-setting process comes after strategic planning, not before.
  2. Challenge the status-quo: Just because some things have been done a certain way for a long time doesn’t make them important, or necessarily vital in achieving goals and strategic objectives. What are things you can stop doing, or fundamentally change the way how they’re done? Identifying stop investments is intended to free-up resources and gain efficiencies so there’s room to reallocate.
  3. Quantify the trade-off: Quantify the impact, if any, of a stop-investment. What impact will it have on the organization, the team, or the individual? Is it measured in hours saved, dollars preserved, or does it create a better customer, or staff experience?

Keeping people aligned in following a roadmap starts with good communication. Determine what things an organization will stop doing. Then make sure the people that are impacted know what they are, why, and how stop-investments support your organization’s ability to pursue net-new growth opportunities by bringing new products and services to market.

Jeff Brunings

With over 20 years management experience in multi-industry environments, Jeff drives customer experience by advancing the effectiveness of OnStrategy’s cloud-based platform and services.