Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Are Your Strategic Planning Efforts Doomed To Failure Before You Start?

Are Your Strategic Planning Efforts Doomed To Failure Before You Start?

It’s December. Your plans for 2017 should be in place. Some organizations are scrambling to get strategic and financial plans in place before the new year. There is still time to get it right in 2017.

Before you have that deep sigh of resignation, ask yourself a few questions:
·         Does your company’s planning process ever yield real results?
·         Do you go through a long, tedious process year after year that you and your managers dread?
·         Are there barriers in your organization that now protect the status quo and prevent you from moving forward?

Perhaps the approach is flawed!
Years of either poor planning or no planning have created unintended consequences for many organizations. These organizations unintentionally have created barriers that prevent them from developing and executing a meaningful plan. It could be because of a history of unreasonable expectations and unachievable goals, a history of abandoned projects, or a lack of internal knowledge and understanding about customers, competitors, and the market.

Barriers to Planning Success
·         History of only partially developing plan
·         History of unreasonable expectations and unachievable goals
·         Lack of internal understanding about customers , competitors, and the market

In addition to barriers to planning, company teams have a lack of confidence and skepticism about their ability to execute plans. This could come from a company history of abandoning projects, a history of unclear objectives and metrics, too many strategies and plans, a history of poor communication, a history of poor delegation and leadership, gaps in management capability, or a lack of true accountability.

Barriers to Execution Success
·         Gaps in management depth
·         History of abandoning projects
·         History of lack of openness and poor communications
·         History of poor delegation and leadership development
·         Lack of true accountability

Organizations that have barriers to planning and execution have one characteristic in common: there is little or no connection between the plans they create and management behavior around execution. Most management teams quickly get swept away with the urgency of the day-to-day business and the plan is forgotten.

So what can you do to change this counterproductive cycle? Try a better approach!

Consider the following before you start
·         Examine past strategic planning and execution efforts
·         Identify the organizational barriers to success – Develop plans to fix these barriers
·         Use a new and flexible approach to strategic planning
·         Less is more – Better to have three strategies with great focus than seven with poor focus
·         Realistic and achievable – Unachievable goals end in frustration and abandonment
·         Validate plans with the market – make certain you understand how customers and competitors will react to your plans
·         Break into small bites with near-term actions – build momentum by getting some early
·         Create 90-day action plans, recheck, and re-evaluate
·         Clear and Understandable – to everyone in the organization
·         Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
·         Metrics – develop quantifiable measurements of progress
·         Track the progress– regular monitoring and adjustment
·         Adjust and Recalibrate

Understanding the barriers to planning and execution is critical. Companies that have addressed the barriers are amazed at how much more their management teams are engaged and how the process energizes the entire organization. CEOs of companies with years of poor planning and execution history find that their organizations are far more capable than they ever imagined of achieving superior results.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Execution- Failure to Launch: Reasons Company Strategies Don't Succeed

[Editor's Note: Almost 2/3 of all strategies fail to reach expectations. Why do so many business strategies fail? Below are some key reasons. Knowing the barriers in your organization to successful planning and execution is the first step. Clients that follow our recommendations have significantly outperformed the competition. We like to say, "A good plan, well executed, beats a great plan, poorly executed, every time." Contact us if you would like more information.             -DPM ]

Execution- Failure to Launch: Reasons Company Strategies Don't Succeed  
1. No clear definition of success  
Fuzzy goals lead to fuzzy outcomes. While it seems obvious, many organizations simply don't articulate the specific goal of a business strategy. If the goal of your customer intimacy strategy is to form deeper customer relationships, that's fuzzy. If the goal is to increase customer retention by 10 percent and increase annual revenue per customer by $10,000 and net profit by $1,000, that's clear. Here, deeper customer relationships may be the mechanism to achieve the goal.

2. Too many goals  - Too many "shiny objects" 
When everything is a priority, nothing gets accomplished. Many so-called strategic plans have too many goals, objectives, success drivers, strategies, initiatives and so on. Worse, it's not clear how these various appendages are linked. Is it any surprise these plans sit on shelves and collect dust? Choose to do fewer things much better.

3. Metrics and Alignment - Either no metrics or vague metrics 
Many plans are simply a brainstormed list of things to get done by unspecified people at indeterminate times. A plan with specifics outlines who will do what by when. It takes into account the sequencing and timing of tasks, activities and resources. Make certain that the goals of everyone in the organization are aligned to the few key objectives.

4. Visibility - Progress isn't measured and managed 
Ever notice how plans placed in the spotlight flourish while those left in the dark shrivel? Any plan worth executing is worth tracking. A monthly meeting with a tight agenda can quickly determine what actions have been taken; what progress has been made; what will be accomplished over the next month and by whom, and what, if any, challenges have emerged. This builds commitment, accountability and confidence in the process.

5. You lack the right people 
Some of those nice people who work for you may not be the right people to get the job done. That statement makes you uncomfortable, doesn't it? Many have been loyal, are committed to the culture, and may be friends and family. However, If you are truly committed to winning, or achieving success - however you define it - then at some point you have to take a long, hard, honest look at the capabilities of your people. Point them in the right direction, support them, develop them - give them a fair chance to succeed. But if they can't get it done, then your responsibility is to get people who can.

6. Flexibility - Failure to update the plan to stay real  
Reserve the right to do what makes sense. Plans are based on assumptions that can change over time. If they do change, then the plan may need to change. A quarterly "recalibration" meeting is a good forum to test your assumptions and determine which, if any, have changed. The meeting may result in either a re-validation or redesign of the plan. It ensures the plan stays real and relevant.

7. Reaction to Failure - Failure is met with indifference or an inquisition 
Is your team serious about its definition of success? Your response to failure sends a clear message about your commitment to winning. Just as importantly, it sends a message about your credibility. Do you ignore a failed initiative and move on to the next big thing (which conveys that you really weren't that committed and you shouldn't be taken seriously)? Do you look for scapegoats (which communicates that you don't take personal responsibility and can't be trusted)? Or do you first look in the mirror, take responsibility, then publicly commit to getting it right, and effectively engage your people to make it happen? Your choice speaks volumes about who you are as a leader.

Where does your organization stand? Mead Consulting Group's process begins with the identification of the barriers and obstacles to successful planning and execution. These "barriers" develop in ALL companies over time. In fact, some of the very things that help a company succeed at early levels will prevent them from succeeding at the next level. The key is to address these barriers so that the path is uncluttered.
Let us your your thoughtsEmail me  or post your comments here.