By Erica Olsen
Talking Points in Support of Strategy

Need some more talking points to convince your boss or board of directors to do a strategic business plan? Here are some points to help you make your case:

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

If organizations fail to anticipate or prepare for fundamental changes, they may lose valuable lead time and momentum to combat them. These fundamental elements of business are customer expectations, employee morale, regulatory requirements, competitive pressures, and economic changes, and they’re always in flux. Many times businesses achieve a level of success and then stall. Strategic planning helps you to avoid the stall and get off the plateau you find yourself on. Accidental success is dangerous.

Succeeding without a plan is possible, and plenty of examples exist of businesses that have achieved financial success without a plan. If you’re one of them, consider yourself lucky, but ask yourself this questions: Could you have grown and become even more successful if you were better organized? I’m willing to bet your answer is yes.

Another danger is that the lack of a strategic plan negatively impacts the attitude of an organization’s team. Employees who see aimlessness within an organization have no sense of a greater purpose. People need a reason to come to work everyday (besides the a paycheck). Lack of direction results in morale problems because, as far as your employees are concerned, the future is uncertain, unpredictable, and out of control. These depressing conclusions can only be seen as a threat to employment, which negatively impacts productivity.

To avoid these dangers, you need to get rid of the naysayers (including possibly yourself). Questioning the value of strategic planning is normal because planning can be intense and costly, but if the attitude that planning isn’t necessary becomes part of your corporate culture, it can prove deadly.

What makes great companies great

Becoming the best at something is often achieved by modeling the behaviors of winners and putting those behaviors into practice. Here are the characteristics of a high-performance company:

  • Has a purpose that focuses the energy of all its members (typically, that purpose is to be the best there is or ever was)
  • Simultaneously and continuously maximizes the self-interests of all its stakeholders
  • Outperforms all others (by any measure) not because of what propels it, but in spite of any and all obstacles that impede it
  • Makes it possible for ordinary people to perform in an extraordinary fashion
  • Transforms its people into “owners” of the organization’s destiny
  • Is a healthy organization committed to being great, no matter what it takes
  • Knows that the execution is more important than the strategy

While a strategic plan is the means, growth and high-performance are the end to those means. Need more talking points to convince you board or your boss about the need to do strategic planning? Check out the growing list here.

The Best of the Best Do Planning

High-performance organizations have fundamental differences that set them apart from other organizations. Anecdotally, these companies are better than their competitors at everything they do. They work more diligently and incessantly to improve faster than their competitors.

There are tons of studies out there that dig into the hows and whys of companies that are ahead of the pack. But instead of getting lost in the details and differences of these studies, take a look at the basics.

At the end of the day, high-performance organizations accomplish extraordinary results, and they do it with ordinary people. The key to achieving is to structure an organization so ordinary people can regularly accomplish outstanding things. Enter a strategic plan.

If you keep waiting for extraordinary people to come along and make things happen, you’re going to wait a long time. Instead, your goal should be to transform your organization in such a way that your people are capable of delivering high performance every minute and every hour of every day.

Download Talking Points as a printable pdf document.

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