We’re often asked what is the fastest and most effective approach to completing a plan fast. That answer might be different for every organization and team, but we’ve been using this surefire way to help expedite the planning process with three of our international clients during the last few months.
We are loosely calling it “Destination Planning” – and it first requires your organization to clearly define where you want to be three years in the future, then reverse engineer a plan to get there. When we say clearly defining where you want to be in three years, we don’t mean an esoteric vision statement that sort of defines your future state. It requires your leadership team understanding exactly what you want from your business and expressing that with solid, concrete language.
It’s a big ask, but clarity is what builds great strategic plans. Fast. We’ve seen it work with clients across different industries and geographic locations, so it certainly can work for you. To help you consider using this method, here’s an outline and questions to answer to help create the framework that defines your vision of success using the balanced scorecard.
Big Picture: Where do you want to be in three years? What do you want the state of your organization to be?
Financial – In three years, what do we expect financially? How does that support the future state?
Customer – In three years, how are we best serving our customers? How do we appear to them?
Internal/Operational – In three years, how do we operate? Where do we need to excel?
People & Learning – In three years, how do we need to develop our internal team? How do we improve our team’s core competencies?
“… first it requires …” and that’s it. What are the steps you propose after the big picture four?
You’ve made one big mistake. You should never start with a fixed, arbitrary time line, e.g., three years. You first conduct an analysis of where you need to go in regards to the customer. That sets the timeline.
Your second suggestion, “how are we best serving our customers?” is the most important element. Strategic planning focuses on the customer and how to improve your product or service to meet what the customer expects from the product or service.