For the past few months, I have been facilitating several strategic planning efforts and I am loathing to create an enormous strategy document that no one ever reads – or refers to again. It simply becomes “credenzaware” – sitting untouched, but proudly displayed on the bookshelf or edge of the credenza.
Your strategy should be leading your efforts and not considered an afterthought, (oh, one of these days, I’ll get to that important strategic initiative!) so you can’t bury it along with the rest of your paperwork. It has to be prominently displayed – a reminder that each day, week, month, and quarter, you should be advancing the strategy forward.
So, I took a cue from Verne Harnish’s book, The Rockefeller Habits where he advocates a one-page plan. As I facilitate the strategic planning team through the strategic planning process, I ultimately steer them toward building a one-page plan that consists of:
- The mission or purpose of the organization
- Their vision or desired future
- Their values – the 2-3 qualities that unquestionably permeate the organization.
- The 3-5 strategic initiatives that will significantly propel the organization toward the desired future
- The implementing strategies for each strategic initiative – the “how” we are going to accomplish the initiative
- The measurable goals and metrics for each initiative
- And the champion (the one who makes sure progress will be made) for each initiative.
You download a template here and see a description of how I use it here.
When you keep your one-page plan visible and accessible, you have a higher probability of making forward progress to the plan!
For example, when I do my weekly planning, I ask myself, “What’s the one thing I am going to do in each strategic initiative that will move us one step closer to our desired future?” I then schedule those items as an appointment with myself. (Non-discretionary times/appointments are harder to move than just putting it on your “to do” list!)
Each day, when I do my daily planning, I ask, “What’s the one thing I am going to do today that will move us one step closer to our desired future?”
It’s no longer credenzaware. It becomes a living document that helps guide our actions to achieve that desired future.