Every organizational strategy needs regular updating regardless of how successful you’ve been. It’s simply not good enough to develop your strategy and put it on the shelf, expecting that it will work indefinitely.
Always be looking for and recording the factors that have changed since you crafted the last version of your plan. The business environmental involves dynamics that are relentless and unpredictable and it’s better to be prepared for them by proactively renewing your strategy every year.
Here are 5 basics of the renewal process:
1. Revisit Your Strategy. If you don’t have a strategic game plan for your organization, create one. Ensure that your growth objective, target customer groups and competitive claim are all still valid given your current circumstances. Markets and competitors change rapidly and it is vital that what you claim to be your uniqueness is still relevant and true.
2. FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS.
Concentrate on as few objectives and action plans as you can. Avoid the pitfall of many organizations that think this is a brainstorming exercise where the more objectives you can define the better off you will be.
The reality is that if you have too many things to do, you won’t achieve any one of them particularly well.
Define the minimum number of objectives that will allow you to achieve 80% of your strategy. Apply your scarce resource only to the issues that will yield renewal success so figure out a handful of things to do and get on with it. Attack the critical few not the possible many.
3. Modify Your Business Processes.
Renewal requires that you analyze your business processes and modify them to be compatible with your revised direction.
Don’t assume your existing processes will work; they were created to execute your old plan not the renewed version.
And if you decide that cost reductions are required, do the process change FIRST; cutting costs without changing the WAY you do business could impair how you serve your customers.
4. CUT The CRAP.
Strategy is just as much about NOT doing things as it is about choosing a new direction. Once you have determined your renewal path, eliminate the projects and activities that are no longer a priority but simply drain the organization of time and energy.
Most organizations have difficulty doing this; they relentlessly hang on to the comfortable activities of the past and wonder why they can’t make headway on their new course.
The fact is, you don’t have the bandwidth to continue with the past and adopt a new set of priorities for the future. Assign a CUT the CRAP Champion for your team and charge them with the task of cleansing your internal environment of things that are not consistent with your renewal plan.
5. Plan On The Run.
Don’t get fooled into believing that your renewal strategy will go as planned. It won’t. There are always unforeseen events that happen and execution elements that fall short of expectations and you will have to make adjustments to your plan “on the run”.
Avoid sticking to your original course when the evidence proves its a lost cause. Develop a handful of key performance metrics and examine your progress at least monthly (in times of turbulent change, weekly monitoring may be in order).
Learn from your ongoing results and adjust your plan accordingly. The plan on the run formula: plan – execute – learn – adjust – execute – learn – adjust…
Build constant strategic renewal into your culture.
BE DIFFERENT than the herd.
Make the renewal competency your competitive advantage.