The Process of Dynamic Strategic Planning
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The Dynamic Strategic Planning Committee, composed of members representing diverse departments, is tasked with looking years ahead and identifying adjustments for a successful journey toward the organization’s Vision.
The committee may begin by considering the following:
- Are we communicating effectively about how organizational actions connect to the Vision? If actions are confusing team members, a drop in energy and enthusiasm for the organization will occur.
- How to ensure the following:
- In introducing new initiatives, connect them to the Vision.
- Be clear to share the gap between where we are and our Vision.
- Resolve any confusion about the suggested path to the Vision.
- Do we have:
- the right systems in place?
- the right people in the correct positions?
- leadership aiding team members in closing their Peak Performance gaps?
- What are our organization’s strengths How can we capitalize upon our competitive advantages—our unique competencies—to move toward our Vision with less effort more effectively?
Start with asking if your shared, compelling Vision is alive in the mind’s eye of all team members—this will prepare them to be aware of new, better, more effective ways to serve your clients/patients/customers. Once new objectives are articulated—and time is set aside for intentional reflection on the objectives—the mind’s Reticular Activating System (RAS) (discussed in Section II) will ensure that opportunities for adjustments and new strategies for achieving objectives naturally reveal themselves.
With an understanding of where the organization currently stands on its Vision journey, leadership and the Dynamic Strategic Planning Committee can define organizational objectives that, when achieved, represent significant progress toward the Vision. These big picture Vision Objectives bring reality to a Vision that can otherwise seem distant. There must be clarity on how the Vision Objectives connect to the Vision.
Just about any Vision—such as curing cancer, enhancing lives, or creating fulfilled communities—needs objective metrics of success if it is to become a reality. We need to measure progress to our destination. Then we can celebrate successful progress or address shortcomings. The metrics are guideposts on our journey to the destination.
The committee will identify the gaps—what is lacking or inhibiting the achievement of the Vision Objectives? The gaps will generally cluster around funding, staffing, and technology but may include improvements needed in habits around your culture.
If the gaps are within your Core Identity, then the organization is not prepared to undertake Dynamic Strategic Planning. The Core Identity must be in place to journey successfully. Your ship must have the capacity to weather the challenges ahead. Sections III and IV are the foundation for venturing to Section V.
Each department of the organization develops initiatives for closing the gap between where the organization is and the Vision Objectives. The initiatives must include:
- An explanation of the alignment of the initiative to one of the organization’s Vision Objectives
- A metric that shares progress toward the Vision Objective
- Assets needed for successful implementation
- Human resources
In addressing these needs for each initiative, the committee should address additional requirements for successful implementation by assessing the following:
- What systems and operational protocols can be improved?
- What habits need improvement?
- What new assets and technologies might aid us in sustaining the journey?
- How can we effectively communicate for all in the organization to know the status of these critical initiatives?
Again, diversity of perspective is necessary to best assess and select the best options creatively, holistically, and honestly.
When deliberating the objectives and the initiatives, there may be outliers who see differently or who can imagine what was previously unimaginable. It may seem like their new ideas are coming out of left field, or they might slow the process down. Do not dismiss them. Instead, ask questions and seek deeper insights. Often, outliers see a future for the organization not apparent to others. We have witnessed an organization transform to align with what it is meant to be by adopting an idea from an outlier. Do not rush. Earnest, intentional deliberation will result in a more vital, energizing progress.
In assessing which initiatives to pursue, return on investment is your ultimate criterion. To this end, the Dynamic Strategic Planning committee will consider each initiative:
- budgetary commitment—facilities, equipment, technology, materials, etc.
- staffing commitment
- time frame for successful execution/speed of impact
- impact on the organization, its clients and customers, and the community
- chances of achieving goals
A matrix for objectively assessing and ranking each initiative’s value (return on investment) can be created from this criterion. Components for each initiative include selection criteria and corresponding value, criteria competitive rank order, criteria end value, and a return on investment (ROI) score.
Here are steps our clients have taken to incorporate Dynamic Planning as a disciplined system:
- Create organizational and departmental Dynamic Strategic Planning Committees that represent a diverse cross-section of the organization.
- Hold regular committee meetings (usually monthly, if not more frequently) to assess the status of current initiatives and make resource allocation adjustments.
- Systematize regular communication of progress for the entire organization.
- Honor the meeting time set aside to reflect on current initiatives and future needs.
- Make the Dynamic Strategic Plan a vital part of staff meetings; this culturally reinforces the importance of long-term sustainability over short-term gratification.
- Celebrate accomplishments: Gather the organization to celebrate the successful progress or execution of initiatives.
- When providing updates on metrics, lead with stories that support and convey their impact. While metrics often seem cold and carry little meaning, the numbers are needed to represent concrete progress on the journey.
- Share emotional stories to connect team members to their deeper motivations. Furthermore, meaningful storytelling reinforces the positive actions that led to success, yielding a better chance for future success.
One of our clients seeks to reduce opioid addiction via technology that aids in pain relief. Instead of representing their metrics through sales figures, they calculate addictions avoided, and, in turn, lives saved.
Allan Mullaly was exemplary in using his leadership team meetings to transform the mindset at Ford Motor Company. The meetings had a deliberate dedication to both operations and strategy. You can do the same. Commit to regularly discussing long-term strategy so that doing so becomes a part of your Culture. It is what you do because it represents your commitment to the organization’s sustainability.
After we introduced this concept to one of our clients, the CEO met with Mullaly to understand how he executed his leadership team meetings. Our client has been remarkably successful in his disciplined dedication to weekly addressing today’s operational needs and setting the organization up for future success by reviewing initiative responsibilities and progress. The organization’s success is reflected in sales growth over the last eight years—today’s sales are four times what they were when we started with them.