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Strategy Navigation (Part 1): Strategic planning? Keep it simple.

August 14, 2015

How many times have you taken part in a “strategic planning” session? You know what I mean: off-sites, on-sites, change-the-world sessions, driven by hype, energy, and hard work. The development of the big, master plan that’s going to change the company and maybe the world. Then, the predictable happens. It sits on a shelf, or on your computer, and it’s never looked at again. Well that was productive. Sound familiar?

Throughout my career, I’ve been involved in more of these sessions than I can count, and all with the same result… pretty much nothing to show for it.

This is why we created Navigation Edge.
Don’t get me wrong: a strategic plan is absolutely critical in setting the course of your company. The problem is that most of the time and energy is put into the development of the plan instead of the execution of the plan. Contrary to popular notion, a cohesive, focused, goal-driven strategic plan can be developed quickly (think a day). Once that plan is in place, it becomes all about execution and accountability --- and that’s where the real magic happens.

Organizations need a simple framework to drive the planning process forward. The simpler the planning process, the faster you’ll be working on the plan, and the more effective it will be. It’s about taking the momentum created in the strategic planning process and maintaining it, using it to drive actions forward. Navigation Edge distills the process to five steps:

Step I: Determine your purpose. Your "Why." – Why does your organization exist? Does your whole organization have a similar answer to this question or are they all different? Without this shared vision, competing ideas, goals, and objectives spread through an organization and stifles growth and innovation. Sharing a similar "Why" statement creates a shared vision of the organization’s goals and objectives and provides a strong foundation to build on.

Navigation Edge TM - Business Strategy Execution - Innovation Engineering - Winnipeg MB CanadaStep II – Current State. Using a number of inVision’s Navigation Tools, organizations will have a clear understanding of the challenges they face, the opportunities ahead, and a clear process for how to drive ahead.

Step III – Law of 3’s Plan Design. inVision’s Strategy Design Process drives organizations to create their top three goals and objectives and then develop a set of actions that will drive change.

Step IV – Determine "Death Threats." Identifying potential barriers that threaten the plan are what we call "Death Threats." Recognizing and removing these barriers not only helps build confidence throughout the team but also gives the team greater chances of success.

Step V – Execution. Everyone who has a hand in executing the plan will be enabled using inVision’s Rhythm of Accountability Process. Using this process makes sure execution is consistent and doesn’t "fall off" due to competing priorities or fires of the week.

Keep your planning system simple and hit repeat annually. You’ll get smarter every time you complete a planning cycle, increasing your ability to execute. With that, success and results becomes predictable – and who wouldn’t get excited about that?

This is a series of blog posts I’m writing about the important of strategy to business. My next post: Find the Groove.

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