Will your strategic plan get the tick?
You know how it works. You’ve been at a strategy planning session with your boss and colleagues, and you’ve slaved away for a couple of days. Now your boss has a strategic plan with a set of key initiatives and it looks really impressive. “Wow”, you say, “I want one as well!” So, you assemble your direct reports and call in a facilitator. Before you know it, you have a shiny new strategic plan and a set of key initiatives for the next 12 to 36 months. You are very pleased with yourself. You are so pleased that you rush it in to your boss so you can show her how clever you are. She says, “Well done. Great job. Now tell me how you are going to operationalise your strategic plan alongside mine.” And this is where things get hard.
How do you use this shiny new strategic plan and ensure it locks in with your boss’s plan and the strategic direction of the organisation? The reality is that getting the strategic plan done was just the start of the process. It’s what comes next that really matters.
If you want your strategic plan to be useful then you are going to need to put some building blocks in place to get this thing moving. Here are the key questions you need to ask yourself and the people around you:
- Is my team ready and aware?
- Am I appropriately structured?
- Do I have the right skills?
- Do I have the budget?
- Do I know my risk profile for this work?
- What technology and processes will I need to support my team in their work?
- How will I track progress?
- Is my data ready?
- Is this really what my internal and external customers need or even want?
If you don’t ask and answer these questions then you are going to have a hard time operationalising any strategic plan. If you do, then you are well on your way to getting your shiny new strategic plan moving in the right direction and showing that boss of yours how clever you really are.