Strategic Planning

3 Tips for Getting it Right

Create a strategy map

Strategy mapping, formulated by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, is a tool used by organizations to describe and communicate strategies. Essentially, a strategy map is a diagram outlining the company’s objectives on a single page. It visually represents the cause-and-effect relationship of each strategic objective.

Strategy maps are effective, for people are visual learners by nature. With the help of such illustrations, your employees can have a clear picture for each strategy, rather when done in a written narrative. 

Strategy maps are created during the initial parts of the strategic planning process and also used as the main reference material for periodic check-ins and review meetings.

The main idea of a strategy map is that every objective is represented by a shape, usually an oval or a rectangle. These objectives are then grouped into categories. However, it’s very unlikely for a company to have 20 or more objectives. Having too many objectives to track can mess up the overall message, and will only make the strategy difficult to communicate.

Once objectives are established, you then have to sort them into categories, also known as perspectives. Another thing to point out here is that, unlike other diagrams, strategy maps are read from the bottom up, but you build it from the top down.

Make an action plan

strategic planning involves no ad-libbing. You need to create a solid action plan in order for a strategic plan to be successful. Sadly, this step has often been overlooked. Some people are so focused on the outcome that they forget to plan all the steps needed to achieve that goal. In fact, some even set goals without even knowing how to achieve them!

Here are the components of an action plan:

  • A well-defined description of the goal to be achieved
  • Outline of tasks that need to be carried out
  • People who will be in charge of carrying out each task
  • Milestones
  • Deadlines
  • Resources needed to complete each task
  • Measures to evaluate progress

 Having an action plan provides a clear direction of how you want to achieve each goal. It helps you to stay committed throughout each project. Moreover, action plans encourage you to prioritize tasks based on effort and impact.

Create a vision statement

A vision statement is the company’s road map, defining the direction of the company’s growth. It is the groundwork of your strategic planning, for it serves the foundation for a broader strategic plan. Compared to general articulations by the management, vision statements are formally written and referenced in the company’s documents.

Here are some key elements of a well-written vision statement:

  • Future-oriented – envisions the company’s future, not the current
  • Motivational – inspire employees to work harder; they see it as something desirable
  • Clear and concise – defines a primary goal and is easy to remember
  • Challenging – something that can’t be easily met
  • Business-aligned – Should reflect the company’s culture and core values

Of course, situations will change. This is why your vision statement should be reviewed periodically. This is to ensure that your objectives are still aligned with the direction you see for the company.

A well-written vision statement will direct the company to its full potential. It will serve as a touchstone for your future actions.

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