Think Strategic Planning is Always About Change? Keystone Proves It’s Not.

The tension most leaders naturally face is the urge to continuously adapt their strategic plan during the ongoing execution process. It’s certainly not a new idea to use strategic planning as a catalyst to change your organization, but successfully achieving your desired future state unwaveringly sticking to a long-term plan and a consistent execution process.

We’ve been working with Keystone Healthcare Management for the past five years to help them build, manage, and execute their strategic plan. During their strategy review last week, we were reminded why they’re seeing success in execution – they’ve been steadfast and consistent during the long-term management of their plan. Here’s how:

  • They have been using the same meeting structure and agenda for years. It allows their entire organization to be looking at the same metrics, goals, and items during every review. There’s no room for misunderstanding or misinterpreting the performance of their plan because everyone is familiar with the structure and performance report.  In fact, their agenda is so detailed, every item has an identified presenter, slide, and data point.
  • They’ve been using the same data visualization and presentation structure. Everyone knows what each graph, chart, and visual means and how it contributes to the performance of the plan. It’s common for leaders to push to evolve the data visualization and charts to display more (or different) information. The most important thing you can do for your plan’s data visualization is land a structure and stick with it long-term. The same can be said for slide-deck presentations.
  • The plan is in ink. This means the plan doesn’t change all the time. In fact, the long-term priorities are all the same. Why? Because the long-term focus and vision of future success you identified during plan creation don’t change every six months or even every year. Don’t just change your entire plan for the sake of change, no matter how tempting it may be. Success requires long-term focus on the same core areas. Stick with them.
  • Everyone shows up and knows what to expect. It’s no mystery what Keystone will be covering during the review. Everyone shows up with their goals updated, information ready to present, and is prepared and engaged. Consistency has been a powerful motivator in keeping the team engaged.

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So why is this level of consistency so important? If you have the same agenda, slides, and visuals, won’t the conversation and review sound the same?

Actually, no. The conversation becomes more meaningful because there is a common understanding of what is going on within your organization. Instead of digesting plan changes or new data visualization, your team begins to focus on what is actually affecting the performance of your plan. The conversation becomes more strategic and everyone around the table is tuned into the health of your organization. The result is a much more thoughtful, strategic review of your plan.

Change is a powerful tool in a leader’s toolbox. But, we recommend keeping it tucked away for a different day during the ongoing strategic management process. It’s worked for Keystone and it will certainly work for you.

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