How Satisfied Are You with Your Strategy Design Process?

a business man is looking at a Strategy Design Process

Your Strategy Design Process Should Be Your Killer App
Be honest…how satisfied are you with your organization’s strategy design process?

  • Do you grit your teeth at the mere thought of the annual strategy and operating plan ritual?
  • Do you end up, along with 2-out-of-3 executives we interview, with the “same old-same old” that has been merely re-worked to be a bit more ambitious?
  • Or do you emerge with a clear, compelling and implementable strategy to move you and the business forward?

Why Your Strategy Design Process Matters
Our organizational alignment research found strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations in terms of revenue, profitability, leadership, customer loyalty and employee engagement.  And we have learned over two decades of helping clients design strategies-that-work how to set up the strategic planning process so you can create a workable and inspiring plan to propel your organization forward.

Your Strategy Process Should Increase Your Odds of Successful Strategy Implementation
We believe that the strategy design process should result in a strategic plan that is:

  • Ambitious enough
  • Meaningful enough
  • Flexible enough to account for changing market conditions
  • Executable through specific action steps that guide management and the front line

5 Critical Elements of an Effective Strategy Design Process
Here are five critical elements of a well-conceived strategy design process that increases the odds for successful implementation:

1.  Include Front-line Managers and Customers in the Strategy Design Process
Crafting strategies is usually left up to the executives. But don’t make the mistake of isolating those making the decisions from those they are attempting to serve. The further apart the executives are from the people who must execute and benefit from the strategy, the more difficult the plan will be to implement.


RELATED:  3 Big Mistakes To Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy


2.  Make Budgeting a Separate Process
It is all too easy to get hung up on numbers and financial targets if you combine your strategy design process with budgeting. Putting together a strategy should be an exercise in prioritizing opportunities and planning for the future. Of course, the strategy’s success will depend upon available resources, but you mustn’t drown in the math and overlook the compelling vision for growth and innovation.

3.  Ensure the Strategic Planning Process Is Ongoing Rather Than Once-a-year
Don’t depend on the calendar to tell you when you should hold the next strategic planning session. Once-a-year is not often enough if you want to stay on top of today’s dynamic markets. Schedule regular opportunities to talk about and evaluate strategic alternatives and progress.

Establish a more flexible cycle where you can review the current plan and adjust as needed in real time.

4.  Have the Right Conversations at the Right Levels of the Organization
Keep it simple. Don’t muck up the strategy design process with conversations and decisions that can be made at a lower level. Just as it is wrong for managers to over-manage their team members, it is inefficient and ineffective for executives to have to decide operational issues that can (and should) be capably handled by staff. Reduce the bureaucracy and focus the discussions so you can keep your eyes on the prize.

5.  Prioritize and Allocate Resources According to the Future, Not Only the Past
At best, incremental strategies get incremental improvements. Your strategy design process should not be an incremental adjustment year after year. The slate should be swiped clean.

Ruthlessly allocate resources to the most critical future growth opportunities. In the end, this is in the entire organization’s best interest.

The Bottom Line
Are you one of the 2-out-of-3 executives who are unsatisfied with their strategy design process?  If you are, make sure you design a new strategic planning process that creates clarity, ambition, flexibility and implementability for your key stakeholders.

To learn more about upgrading your strategy process, download Should You Facilitate Your Own Strategy Retreat? 3 Guidelines to Help You Decide

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