By Chally Kacelnik
A lot of visionary and clever strategic plans fizzle out, much to the frustration of the designers. The bitterness is only heightened when the idea has been lauded within the organisation, but the bottom drops out of any nascent practical support. This can lead to burnout for bright and capable employees, not to mention the death of innovation and good strategy in your organisation.
It’s always very sad to watch this happen. Here’s how to avoid it and make your strategy viable.
- Articulate the vision: make very clear what you are trying to achieve. Express it simply (not simplistically) so that it is able to be understood by your stakeholders and so that it can inspire those who are going to put it into action. Do not mistake a lack of articulation or the presence of complex terminology for sophistication. A worthwhile vision should be exciting and accessible to everyone involved
- Identify the outcomes and outputs: these are respectively the measurable long term goals and the short term measurable results. These should be supported and measured by customer-oriented rather than technically focused metrics (here’s an explanation of those terms. The idea is that the metrics should concern what’s actually being gotten out of your activity)
- Account for key change drivers: these might be increasing customer self-service and digitisation options, for instance. Helpful here is a PESTEL (political, economic, social, technological, environmental, legal) analysis of the issues facing the broader context of your organisation
- Design it to be cascaded: the strategy will run out of steam if it is not directly linked to your core organisational strategic framework, directly contributing to your articulated objectives and in line with your operating model. Make sure it is clearly and directly linked to your core planning and cascades down to resourcing and departmental plans as necessary
- Ground it in genuine consultation: identify your relevant stakeholders and get their input. Their perspectives and ideas will strengthen your strategy. Conducted well, this process will encourage buy in within your stakeholder group and, through their connections, buy in more broadly
- Get senior leadership buy in: if you are not among your organisation’s senior leaders yourself, confirm the support of senior leadership, and sponsorship of a particular senior leader if needed. Strategies have a habit of sitting out in the cold if there’s not ownership from the top down
- Plan to close the capability gap: is your organisation currently set up to achieve the strategy? You may need to undertake a gap analysis and a training needs analysis, followed by a realistic training implementation plan. You may also need to make recruitment and structure recommendations
Ground your strategy in these practical considerations in order to drive it home. A good idea deserves solid groundwork to bring it to fruition.