Leading Made Simple

Is your strategy plan killing it?

What diagnostic tool to you use to assess all aspects of the business, the processes, and the organization to develop a meaningful strategy plan?

Will it guide you to success? Have you clearly defined what success is for you, your company, and critical stakeholders? In a documented, measurable way?

Don’t get trapped by a profit number. That number is only a result of things that you did or did not do. It is a trailing indicator.

A strategy plan is not the business plan devised by your accountant for your banker.

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Look for good leading indicators that help you to better predict your business, your progress, and your success.

  • Do you have a clear and shared vision for your company, one that is inspiring, energizing, exciting, and gets you out of bed in the morning because of that? If you don’t, what would be the effect on you and your organization if you had a vision like that?
  • Are your organization’s values identified, understood, and lived by throughout your company? Can you and your people rely on them as the non-negotiable basis of your decision-making processes? Always?
  • Do you have an actual assessment of your internal capabilities and capacities? What do you know about the changes occurring on different fronts? Market, competition, society, employment, quality standards, service requirements, technology, workplace environment, cultural shifts, etc…
  • New products, services, the competitive situation?
  • Who thrives and who does not?

There are many more questions to be raised, reflected upon, and answered to develop a strong strategy plan. Those who approach these questions in a systematic way and with an open mind  will have a tenfold chance of succeeding and reaching desired goals.

When was the last time you did a diagnostic assessment of yourself, your leadership cadre, and your whole organization?

Creating self-awareness with respect to effective soft skills, goal setting, goal achievement and leadership tools, combined with the right habits to maximize your individual output while maintaining reasonable life balance will make a great difference!

What picture do you see and what would you like to see? A well-designed strategic planning process will help to resolve that question and provide clarity.

Will the organizational results be sustainable when the business environment changes? What should be different? The leadership of an organization represents the ultimate multiplier of the effectiveness and efficiency of the whole business — no matter how big or small that organization may be.

Strategic planning is teamwork!

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There is a little book called “10.5 Reasons Why Leaders Fail” written by a good friend and colleague of mine, David Herdlinger. The 10.5th reason in his book is stated like this: “Leaders don’t ask for help”.

Do not fall into this trap; ask yourself relevant questions and venture out to get expert help. The best questions are most often especially those that may give you an uncomfortable feeling, taking you outside of your comfort zone when developing your strategy plan.

Remember, real progress can only occur outside of our comfort zone!

Find ways to measure things; there are always possibilities to find a good approach to measure. Only then will you be able to identify if something is (or is not) working according to your plan.

Peter Drucker stated, “Only what is measured gets done.”

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And he is certainly correct with this assessment, which has also been the case during my 30+ years as a corporate executive, and it tends to be true with my coaching clients, too.

Building an effective strategy plan involves several key steps.

Here are the nine important steps to consider:

  1. Define your vision, core values, and mission: Clearly articulate your organization’s long-term vision and mission. The vision describes the desired future state, while the mission defines the purpose. The core values of the organization represent the non-negotiable criteria for decision making.
  2. Assess the current situation: Conduct a thorough analysis of your internal and external environment. This includes evaluating your strengths, limitations, opportunities, and threats (SLOT analysis), understanding market trends, key stakeholder needs & requirements, and assessing competitors.
  3. Set strategic objectives: Based on the analysis, establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. These objectives should align with your vision and mission and address critical areas for improvement, enhancement, innovation, or growth.
  4. Develop strategies: Identify the broad approaches and initiatives that will enable you to achieve your objectives. Consider multiple strategic options and select the ones that best align with your goals and resources. This should involve areas like product development, market expansion and/or segmentation, cost optimization, or innovation.
  5. Create action plans: Break down each strategy into actionable steps and define clear responsibilities and timelines. Specify the resources required, potential risks, and effective performance indicators to track progress. Make sure that the action plans are realistic and support the overall strategy.
  6. Implement the plan: Execute the action plans in a concerted fashion, monitor progress, and make necessary adjustments along the way. Ascertain effective communication and coordination among team members and relevant stakeholders. Provide the required support, resources, and training to facilitate successful implementation.
  7. Monitor, evaluate, and adjust: Continuously assess the progress of the strategy plan execution. Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and evaluate the outcomes against the stated objectives. Identify any gaps or areas of improvement and make necessary adjustments to keep the plan on track. It is critical for progress and success to lagging and leading performance indicators!
  8. Communicate and engage: Keep all stakeholders informed about the strategy plan and its progress. Effective communication and engagement help generate buy-in, alignment, and support across the organization. Encourage feedback and address concerns to ensure everyone is on board.
  9. Review and update: Regularly review the strategy plan and implementation to adapt to changing circumstances, market dynamics, potential new opportunities, and competitive developments. Update your objectives, strategies, and action plans if necessary. Consider the strategy planning and execution as an iterative process where adaptability and quick response is essential for long-term success in today’s dynamic environment.
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Picture: Destination Think

Keep in mind that the specific steps and details may vary depending on the context and nature of an organization. It is crucial to involve key stakeholders and seek input from relevant experts throughout the strategy planning process. An outside expert resource to facilitate the process should be a serious consideration, too.

Get ready for the next curve on your road to success and be prepared in the most professional way you can be.

“Right now” is always the best time to do something about the preparation.

It is much better to make the time instead of waiting to the point when you must “find the time.” Not having the time could have one main reason — you have not prepared the way you could have. A well-thought-through strategic plan is the foundation for a successful, sustainable business.

Lead2succeed, stay safe, and help your team to succeed! If you would like to explore additional ideas about strategy planning or business strategy let’s talk!

Manfred Gollent

Manfred Gollent is a certified business coach and the founder of QLI International LLC. He works with a variety of clients from Fortune 500 executives to small business entrepreneurs on leadership and strategy development since 2006. Prior to founding QLI International, Manfred has been a turn-around executive in a Fortune 500 company with global operations. During his 30+ years in the corporate world, he led the rebuilding of underperforming subsidiaries in the United States, Europe, and Asia by developing their leadership team and organization, restructuring their market portfolio, operations and efficiency to improve results toward meeting investor’s expectations. Aside from his international corporate career, Manfred has served on company boards in the UK, Belgium, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and the United States.