Strategic planning shouldn’t be something you do once a year to check a box. But that is exactly what happens when we don’t ingrain strategy into our team’s daily work.
Being intentional about the use and execution of your strategic plan is a learned behaviour. Asking yourself a few simple questions can help you understand if you are leveraging your organization’s strategic plan to its full potential, or not.
Question 1: Have you revisited your strategic plan in the past six months?
If not, it could mean that while something in the environment has shifted, your strategic plan has not been adapted to mitigate new risks or capitalize on new opportunities. Changes to the environment could involve new technology, new social norms, new regulations, new leadership, and new clientele. Each of these present challenges, and opportunities to reboot your strategy to remain relevant.
Question 2: Can your direct reports effectively articulate your strategic plan? Can you?
If not, it means that the team is too far removed from the strategy. At a minimum your team should be able to articulate the highest-level goals for the year, and the step goals to execution. This can be difficult to accomplish if your strategy exists in a document that is buried in some obscure folder that requires 12 clicks to access it. Make your strategy simple, visual, and memorable. A one-page visual strategy is achievable.
Question 3: Is a good portion of your team's hours focused on moving your strategic plan forward?
If not, it means that as a leader you may have a clear direction of the strategy for your team, but the people doing the rowing are not synchronized. This can lead to wasted effort, confusion, and frustration for you and your team. Getting that one-page strategy in front of your team allows the strategy to become ingrained so that the team is never sidetracked by shiny-new ideas that aren't a fit with your strategy. Being intentional about the work you take on and ensuring that it aligns with your plan means you aren't leaving your success up to chance.
So ask yourself:
Answering yes to these questions is important for targeted forward momentum. As our world continues to evolve so too must our strategic plans. Good strategy drives relevance, and relevance drives success.
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