Is Your Strategy Strategic?

Many people get confused by the terms Strategy, Strategic Plan and Strategic Planning.  We’ll set the record straight today, taking a page out of our own book. Let’s start off by what “good” looks like with regard to this topic, as all efforts should serve your operation by:

  • Clearly articulating how you will succeed and win
  • Inspiring change and revision in products, services and target markets
  • Clearly defining the criteria for achieving success
  • Assisting everyone in daily decision making

Strategy, overall, means consciously choosing to be clear about your direction in relation to what is happening in the dynamic environment and embracing proactivity.  Strategy then helps clarify the following to the organization:

  • Focuses on activities that fit together and reinforce each other
  • Serves as a decision-making guide within the organization and moves it toward its vision
  • Reinforces a unique value proposition compared to competitors

Strategic Plans are the formalization of strategy, spelling out where an organization is going over the next year or more.  This roadmap should:

  • Communicate your strategy to staff
  • Prioritize your financial needs
  • Provide focus and direction to move from plan to action

Finally, think of Strategic Planning as a continuous process and keep in mind that it can look different for different organizations.  Nevertheless, here are keys to keep in mind during any strategic planning process:

  • Select the right team of 9-15 members that represent different segments of the organization
  • Collect good, relevant information for use during the process (i.e. a competitive analysis, regulatory information, customer loyalty data, employee engagement information)
  • Commit to quarterly reviews and make sure the team participates with perspectives that are aligned to strategy topics
  • Understand that every strategy needs adjustment at least once per year

The most important thing is to acknowledge that opportunities and possibilities are worth the effort and overarching strategy, strategic plans and the strategic planning process are concepts and exercises to get organizations closer to an optimal state.

– Cammy Elquist LoRé writes the newsletter and is the Director of Program Communication for OnStrategy for OnStrategy. She can be reached at @cammyelquist on Twitter or cammy@onstrategyhq.com.

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