March 4th, 2011
If the end goal is to determine a direction for the organization or an individual, then the foundation of the process is to determine the core values. Without a clear understanding of your values, it’s impossible to create a mission and a vision. And a stated mission and vision is ultimately what will guide your strategy. When the organization identifies values, mission, vision and strategic objectives clearly and collaboratively, and if the process included the right stakeholders, then alignment happens. In other words, everyone is on the same page and there is buy-in. Alignment is especially critical at the very top of the organization. If the CEO or President is not part of the process, there will be no ownership. Without ownership at the top, the implementation of the strategic plan is likely to fail.
Once the strategic objectives have been identified and agreed upon, it’s time to communicate those objectives both internally and externally. The importance of sharing the mission, vision and strategy is critical for the success of the strategic plan’s implementation and execution. Internal and external stakeholders must be able to see how this plan impacts them and how they will impact the strategy.
Now the fun and the important work can begin: Execute the plan by insuring follow-through of stated goals, objectives and actions. This is where the rubber meets the road and where accountability comes into play. Where pretenders are identified and those that ‘get it’ step up and stand out.
Measuring the progress (or lack of) is the last piece in the process. With out routinely evaluating the metrics that measure how well you are doing with strategic objectives, then course corrections can’t be made and resource allocations cannot be adjusted. It’s like driving at night with out headlights. You’re making good time but you don’t really know where you’re going or when you will get to your destination.
In today’s climate, none of use can afford to go on ‘cruise control’ or drive with our lights off. A well thought out strategic plan based on values, mission and vision and with ownership at the top is our best formula for success.
Identify…core values, mission, vision and strategy
Align…get everyone on the same page
Communicate…insure all stakeholders know the mission, vision and strategy
Execute…follow through with stated objectives and actions
Measure…track and evaluate objectives for results making adjustments along the way