Monday, June 24, 2013

Are you REALLY doing strategic planning?

Do you think your company is doing strategic planning?  Many people do - but strategic planning is more than just an annual vague discussion about your business.  Real strategic planning can be characterized by three things:  SUBJECT, FOCUS and EXECUTION.
Subject is what you are really talking about when you are doing strategic planning.  As I said in my books, there are three questions that we ask in strategy - and if the subject isn't about one of these three questions, you aren't being strategic.  The questions are: 
  1. What do we do?
  2. For whom do we do it?
  3. How do we beat (or better, avoid) competition?
Remember - if it doesn't address one of these questions, it's not strategic.
Focus is not, as most assume, about what you are going to do.  That's too easy.  Focus is about what you WON'T do.  With proper focus, you can tell the world who you are and they will look to you to deliver on the things that make  you outstanding.  The hard part is giving up the things you are NOT focusing on.  Strategic planning is not about what you should do, want to do or could do - it is about what you must do to succeed in a focused target area.
Execution is actually doing what you plan to do.  It's easy to say "we will go here and do this" - it's another thing entirely to DO it.  If you put little or not effort into your execution, you may have great strategy, but you will have disappointing results.
Does your organization do all of these things well in strategic planning?  Which of the three do you find the biggest challenge?