A client recently asked me if there was a way to create a “quick strategic plan.” He wanted to bring his executive team together to get clarity and alignment on what they needed to do in the next year or so – and he didn’t want to take a long time nor make it into a massive science project!
I suggested this simple process as a quick way to put together a quick strategic plan:
- Determine the overall organizational goal or vision. In this case, he was pretty confident that his team knew the destination, but if not, try using the “Read all About It” team activity to get everyone pointed in the right direction!
- From the vision, identify the critical success factors/key categories that need to be in place/working well in order to achieve the end goal. For example, business development, operations, financing, research and development, infrastructure, customer focus….you get the idea.
- Ask the team to rate the business as it rates today for each critical success factor on a scale of 0 to 10 – with 0 being not in place at all to 10 – AWESOME! I like to draw a wheel on an easel chart with each factor as a spoke. The center of the wheel is a zero and the outside rim is a 10.
Put a tick mark on each spoke as the group comes to some agreement on the number. (I usually let the discussion roll for a few minutes and then see where it lands/loudest voice – then confirm with the team before I put the tick mark on the flipchart.)
- Then ask the team to rate the business where it should be in 2-3 years (pick a specific timeframe) for each critical success factor. (It’s important to note that the team needs to be realistic and not everything has to be a 10 – nor should it be a 10!)
- When done with these two ratings, draw a circle around the current tick marks in one marker color and a circle around the “to be” marks in a contrasting marker color.
- Have the team discuss the results: Is there a specific area that is a strength? Weakness? Where are the biggest gaps? Critical issues that must be managed?
- From this discussion, have the team identify 3-5 key themes. In this example, the team realized that they needed to get their “operational house” in order pronto, realizing that the benefits would help the other areas immensely!
- The themes become the strategic initiatives – and for each initiative, the team identifies the 2-3 year goal(s) and a plan to close the gap.
- Finally, for each initiative, identify a champion to ensure that this quick strategic plan lives on past the meeting!