Thursday, May 17, 2007

Strategic Planning - better implementation

I'm thinking of doing one of my future Hot Seat programs on the Four Pillars of Strategy Implementation. I think it would be an awesome program.

People who use any strategic planning model tell me that implementation is really the hard part for them. Yes, I make my living helping people come up with great strategies, but I recognize that I get to go home at the end of the meeting and the managers I work with have to actually put a lot of attention and time into turning those strategies into reality. I suspect that the time I spend on implementation - about 20-30% of the whole process - is one of the reasons my clients get such great results. Some clients tell me it feels a little weird the first time through, but after the first year, almost all of them are completely sold on my unusual approach.

One of the keys - and this is a valuable point for anyone concerned with strategy implementation - is that we pay a LOT of attention to the money involved in most of our projects, and very little attention is devoted to the time involved. This has always seemed backwards to me, because (in the hundreds of projects I've worked on) 95% of the projects that fail in execution do so because people at the top of the organization didn't spend enough time on the project.

So my idea for the Implementation Program is to lay out each company's objectives, action plans, and resource issues, and discuss those in depth, probing for areas where little changes can yield big results in effectiveness. I'm guessing there will be some really great stuff we can do in a program like that on three areas: (1) writing better objectives, (2) writing better action plans and (3) structuring the resource allocation process to yield more realistic commitments. This is just an idea, so I'd love to hear what you think about this!

I think any company who is doing strategic planning could leave the room with a much better implementation plan - maybe even people who are already working with me! If you are interested in this program, drop me a line. I haven't decided where to hold it yet - it might be anywhere in the world.

On that note, I still have a couple of days available when I'm in Europe in late June- early August - my plan is to spend most of that time in Switzerland, but I'd love a chance to do a Simplified Strategic Planning workshop for anyone who hasn't had a chance to see me for a while. Since my only European gig was in Norway last year, that's probably most of my readers in Europe. Drop me a line if you think some great strategic stimulus would be valuable to your company.

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