Too often, strategic planning is either an intellectual exercise without a real connection to the business or an "important, but not urgent" effort that never seems to get completed. Everyone knows what it's like to spin on strategic planning -- which is why many executives groan at the thought.
To avoid the pain, lots of managers hire a company like McKinsey to go off and do the analysis for them, but others are reluctant to outsource something so central to their business. I offer strategic planning services for companies that want to do it themselves and be sure that the time invested is well spent.
When you work with me, you'll end up with a clear strategic plan that incorporates the best thinking of key players and leads to action. Strategic planning will be a high value added activity with visible benefits that impact the bottom line.
One of the reasons that many teams spin on strategic planning is that, by its very nature, it is a complex issue without obvious answers. Groups have difficulty framing the right questions, getting their arms around the complexity and reconciling different views. You could give the task to one or two people to do on their own, but then how much buy in will you have from the people who have to implement the plan?
There is a saying that the best strategic plan is the one that gets implemented. Plans get implemented when there is buy-in and buy-in happens when people participate in the process. I work with you to design a process that balances the need for speed with the need to involve the key people who will be driving implementation.
How I Work
My main focus when I start with a new client is to help them fully articulate the goals for strategic planning. What will be different or better if the project goes well? Are we trying to identify new markets or are we looking at how to downsize without gutting the core business of the company? Is it a question of how to allocate development funds between competing and unproven technologies? Does the CEO already have a clear vision that he wants the senior team to understand and flesh out? Defining a clear goal is the first step in designing the right process.
The right process could be as simple as a two day retreat with the senior team or as extensive as a 6-month process that reaches down into the organization and outside to customers and partners.
I usually start with in depth interviews of key players to surface the main assumptions everyone holds about the market and your business. The results of the interviews are used to help you frame the issues and identify the most useful models for getting your arms around the strategic questions. I then work with you to develop a plan for analyzing the market, understanding your company's competitive advantage, and reaching closure on the question of which direction to pursue. I'll facilitate the plan so you build the necessary momentum for making the leap into action. And finally, I'll help you develop a communication plan for rolling out the strategy to the whole company.