STRATEGY. EXECUTION. GROWTH.
Set your Strategy for Growth
Create the Strategic Roadmap to Deliver on Your Growth Strategy Goals
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin
True business growth requires a strategic growth plan. If you take your company success seriously, you’ll invest the time and resources needed to develop a robust strategic roadmap. Your growth strategy, whether your business is in the launch or scale stage, will focus your resources on intended goals and ensure your efforts deliver precise, predicted results.
Think about that for a moment. You wouldn’t plan a journey without some kind of itinerary. You don’t walk into a meeting without a topic agenda. You wouldn’t choose a college curriculum without consulting an academic advisor about your career objectives to ensure you select courses that support your goals. Why would you attempt to launch or scale a business without a proper strategy?
Despite your best intentions, leading your company through business decisions and operations based on gut feelings will not be sustainable. You can’t launch or scale a company successfully flying by the seat of your pants or through a lens of “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” No matter how talented you might be, no matter your brilliance in leadership, ultimately, this style will only result in throwing more time, resources, people, and money at growing challenges, without resolution.
Any marketing, sales, and operational activities, in the absence of strategy, will undoubtedly result in:
- Budget overruns and ambiguous ROI
- Inability to link efforts with outcomes
- Reactive and random activity rather than intentional and proactive action
- Misalignment between Marketing, Sales, and Operations efforts
- Inefficient use of resources, wasting time, money, and human capital
- Lack of clarity for team members about the path forward
In contrast, a strategic growth plan and strategic roadmap to execute it provides a clearer and easier path to success. It ensures all of your business growth activities are carried out with intention, purpose, and effectiveness to achieve your most important goals.
Developing a growth strategy means adhering to a process and taking precise steps addressing each key contributing factor. No one business plan will look like another. However, the steps necessary for developing your growth roadmap can follow this outline for success.
The Practical Value of Strategic Planning
Strategic planning establishes a vision and common goals for your business that everyone can understand. It sets a path toward achieving those goals with key strategic initiatives and the tactical and process-driven activities to accomplish those strategies. It clarifies the business case to invest time, money, and resources into those activities to fulfill the strategies that deliver on the goal.
A goal-focused strategic growth plan provides your company with the awareness, intentionality, priority, and measurable direction to get from where you are today to where you want your business to be. It’s time well-invested so that you know where you are going, you have a clear path to get there, you can measure progress along the way, and you can recognize when you’ve arrived.
Benefits of a strategic growth plan include:
- Increased ROI
- Improved marketing and sales efforts
- Streamlined operations
- Resilience in pivoting activities
- Quick identification of unproductive efforts
- Immediate ability to address challenges
Strategic planning is an ongoing process, so it needs to be scalable and repeatable. Those requirements are best realized with a strategic growth plan framework. Also, your strategic planning framework should provide a reliable structure and allow flexibility simultaneously. A plan that is too rigid may not leave room for adaptation and flexibility. Meanwhile, a framework that is too high-level or unestablished may not provide the support structure needed to make your strategic plan actionable and accountable.
And while there are countless strategic growth plan templates out there, every business should customize a strategy based on the assets, resources, challenges, market, and factors that apply. Additionally, as you develop your strategic growth plan, do so in a way that allows everyone within your organization to easily understand it, apply best practices to support it, and visualize the inherent benefits of it.
Investing Time and Resources is Inevitable. Make That Investment Strategic.
You are investing time, money, focus, and other resources to operate and grow your business. But are you getting the most value from those investments? Do you see the results from those investments?
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of working “in the business” instead of “on the business.” But it is a costly mistake to neglect or put off developing a strategy at any stage in your business. Expending resources without an intentional plan is like throwing money at a wall and hoping it magically multiplies before hitting the ground.
Also, a strategic growth plan isn’t something you can create and then shelve. Company growth, and the framework you design to guide it, are constantly subject to change. A strategy that you developed two years ago may no longer be relevant in today’s market. You’re required to invest time and resources in any business venture, whether you’re launching or scaling. But those resources and that time are valuable. Don’t risk wasting those efforts on the wrong path forward. Don’t invest in developing a static plan either, that won’t be agile and flexible with your business shifts. Instead, develop a dynamic set of guidelines that serves as a guidepost for accountability and a pinpoint precision focus on your business goals.
Recognizing the importance of strategic planning is the first step toward preparing for business growth. The next step is knowing where to start and how to begin improving or developing yours. It doesn’t have to be complicated. However, it does need to be collaborative.
Start with a Framework, Stakeholders, and Facilitation for Your Strategic Planning Process.
To begin developing a new strategic growth plan or reworking an existing plan, you can always start with a few fundamental factors. Whether you’re in startup mode or are a well-established brand pivoting in today’s ever-changing market, these first steps can guide your growth strategy design efforts.
The Goal Pyramid is a great tool to help you visualize this first step in the process. It’s a framework that will allow you to address planning at a company level, a departmental level, and an individual level.
The Goal Pyramid Framework: Simplicity and Order
If you’re unfamiliar with the Goal Pyramid model, here’s how it works.
The Goal Pyramid framework starts with a single SMART goal at the top.
Next comes the strategy layer, featuring one or more strategies that work together to reach the goal.
Below this is the execution layer, with activities (one-time tactics and ongoing processes) that fulfill the strategies that deliver on the goal.
Finally, the resources layer identifies the people and tools necessary to execute the tactics and processes that fulfill the strategies to deliver on the goal.
Always start at the top of the pyramid and work your way down to ensure that your resources, execution, and strategies are goal-focused.
The Stakeholders: Who Should Be Involved?
Include key stakeholders from your organization in your strategic planning process. These stakeholders should not only include company leaders and decision-makers but also key influencers, thought leaders, and future leaders in your company who can add value. It is important to have many voices in the room, but there is a limit. If you include too many people, the process can become unwieldy.
Ask These Questions to Identify Key Stakeholders:
- Does the stakeholder play a critical role in the success of your business?
- Can you clearly identify the contributions the stakeholder adds to your business?
- Does the stakeholder have an increasingly important role in your business?
- Is the stakeholder someone who can be easily replaced in your business?
- Is the value the stakeholder brings duplicated by another stakeholder at the table?
Use the answers to narrow the pool of stakeholders to those who are critical to the strategic growth plan process. Be selective to identify only those who play a significant role in the growth effort of your company. These individuals will offer valuable insights and unique perspectives rooted in experience derived from their expertise, their position within the company, their responsibilities, or their leadership. Avoid choosing contributors based on feelings or personal connections. Also, consider that sensitive materials may be discussed. Discretion and trustworthiness are also important traits.
Selecting a Facilitator
Identify a facilitator who can lead your strategic planning process. The facilitator may be someone from within your team, or it may be an outside consultant. The right person should have:
- Experience in facilitating strategic planning
- Familiarity with the framework and the process you are using
- Exceptional conflict resolution and communication skills
If you do choose someone from within your team to facilitate, be diligent in ensuring that the team member doesn’t influence the direction of the process based on their interests, existing relationships with other stakeholders, or even based on their position within the company.
Have an experienced strategic planning facilitator work with your team.
You need to understand where you are now before you can determine how to get to where you want to be. A current state analysis helps you determine your baseline.
Create a Foundation Based on a Current State Analysis
Before you build anything intended to serve long-term objectives, you must first construct a robust foundation. A strategic growth plan will only be successful if the foundational pillars are rooted in facts, metrics, and actionable intel. A great start begins with a snapshot of current conditions and company analysis, consisting of four exercises.
Gather current information about the business plan, finances, projections, customer segmentation, and value proposition.
Your business plan may not be lengthy or detailed, but it should include at a minimum:
- Product or service solution (who, what, and why)
- Operational structure (people, processes, and tools)
- Marketing plan (market, message, and media)
- Financial projections (sales, costs, and profits)
- Business structure (legal, funding, and assets)
The elements of a business plan are interdependent and should evolve over time as your business changes. Although you may have started off as one concept, your business may have shifted over time to include other ideas, solutions, and markets. Your operations, organizational structure, and even overall business structure may have changed. Your marketing and financial models probably changed as you learned more about what worked and what did not work. Revisit and update your business plan to reflect your current state position as an essential part of your strategic planning.
Identify insights from market trends, PEST trends (political, economic, social, technological), and a competitive analysis.
Your business exists in a larger business ecosystem, which means you need to research and revise marketplace factors that influence your success. The competitive landscape influences your opportunity to capture market share. As political, economic, social, and technological (PEST) factors change, they also influence the evolution of your organization and need to be considered when putting together your strategic plan.
Clarify the long-term vision, mission, and company values.
It is easier to connect with people when they understand not only what you do but why you do it. In any business today, customers won’t buy from you if you don’t know your why. If you clearly state what you believe and share those beliefs as part of your culture, your vision, and your mission, you’ll attract others who understand and agree with your beliefs. These values are an equally important influence on developing your strategic plan.
Conduct a SWOT analysis to help determine priorities that best achieve the mission and vision.
A SWOT analysis is an evaluation of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Some items may fall into multiple categories, as a strength can also be an opportunity or even a threat. A weakness can sometimes be the reflection of an opportunity not yet seized. Documenting these internal and external influences on your business helps to identify trends and prioritize goals for your strategic growth plan.
There’s an important distinction to make right now during this development stage of your company strategy. With all of the aforementioned metrics, trends, and analytics in mind, you must also determine whether you’re in the startup or scaleup stage. Every strategic planning decision you make should be aligned with your actual (not aspirational) business stage.
Startups Defined: Any business still in the formative and market validation phase (also known as Product-Market Fit phase) is typically referred to as a startup. A startup should be on a path to its first $1m in annual revenue. Because they’re new(er) in their space, they must establish themselves as a viable contender in the market, introduce their offerings to early stage customers, educate about new innovations, or secure investment for their go-to-market launch.
Scaleups Defined: When a business has proven product-market fit and started selling to mainstream markets, and has eclipsed $1m in annual revenue, it can be reasonably categorized as a scaleup business. A scaleup business might be ready to embark on new branding journeys, leverage strategic partnership or channel sales opportunities, launch new products or services, or expand into new territories. These businesses may hit a plateau at some point and seek new strategies to ensure sustainable, scalable revenue growth.
Investing the time to create a current state analysis results in cogent and considered thoughts as you move toward developing your goals, strategies, execution, and resources in your strategic planning process.
Setting goals for your company might just be the most critical step in the strategic growth planning process. Without clear, attainable objectives ahead, your business will operate without a trajectory. Companies that lose sight of their goals are relegated to stagnancy, diminished market share, and eventual failure.
Whether you’re developing a strategic launch plan or a strategic growth plan, you will need to be realistic, intentional, and authentic about setting company goals. Everything you do within your business needs to support these goals, and there’s more to effective goal-setting than jotting down a few ideas or figuring out how to hit your next revenue target.
A goal is a statement of a desired outcome that feeds the company vision.
When using the Goal Pyramid framework for your strategic planning, the Goal layer is at the top of the pyramid and contains a SMART goal. A SMART goal is a detailed statement of intent that includes unambiguous criteria to better define your goal.
A SMART goal should be…
*Sometimes the “A” is achievable and the “R” is realistic. There may be other slight variations on the words used, but the five key concepts and characteristics of the words are the same.
For best results, be specific. Instead of stating that your goal is to “grow our business,” you might state, “Grow our revenues by a minimum of 15% with a 22% gross profit margin and an 80% year-over-year client retention rate by the end of the fiscal year to establish our company as an emerging leader in the widget automation market.”
Once you have developed your goal, apply the SMART goal test to your statement. Is your goal:
- Specific: Is it well-defined and unique enough to provide a distinct description?
- Measurable: Can you determine quantitative progress toward achieving the goal?
- Attainable: Is the goal something that can realistically be accomplished?
- Relevant: Will accomplishing this goal get your business closer to your vision?
- Time-bound: Is there a specific end date to create urgency and determine success?
SMART goals are the foundation for effective strategic planning. Your SMART goal sits alone at the top of the Goal Pyramid. It’s important to only create one SMART goal per Goal Pyramid. If you have more than one goal (and you probably will,) create a different pyramid for each goal. This way, every strategy, every execution tactic or process, and every resource will naturally be goal-focused.
Aim to create a manageable number of active Goal Pyramids at any time. For context, it’s generally understood that three goals are more attainable than ten goals. As you complete a goal, you can always build another pyramid and keep the process going. Too often, over-ambition results in poor execution, or outright failure. If you create effective SMART goals, achieving just one will show positive results; achieving three over a specified period of time can dramatically evolve your business. As your business evolves with the achievement of each SMART goal-focused pyramid, so will the subsequent goals you establish.
Goals without strategies are just aspirations without action. The first step to transforming an objective into an obtainable outcome involves developing a series of growth strategies to get there.
Develop Growth Strategies to Reach Your Goals
With clearly defined goals and objectives established, it’s time to map out what steps are required to meet those objectives. This part of the strategic growth plan involves itemizing the pathways on the road map.
Strategies are the high-level plans, directions, and programs that work together to lead you to your company goals.
As the second tier of the Goal Pyramid, the strategies layer is directly below the SMART Goal. Each strategy within this layer of the framework is a part of the overall plan to achieve the goal above it. After you’ve created your goal at the top of the Goal Pyramid, review your SWOT Analysis (from your current state materials) for ideas on how to use your strengths and opportunities to build strategies that will work toward reaching the goal in the top layer.
It’s imperative during this phase of your strategy development that you recognize the stage of your business. Are you a startup seeking product-market fit, or a relatively new company yet to achieve your first $1 million in revenue? Or are you an existing brand, ready to pivot and position your company for exploding growth and scaling?
Some key elements of a successful launch strategy might include:
- Go to Market Initiatives
- Validate Product-Market Fit
- Attract Early Adopter Customers
Some key elements of a scaleup strategy might include:
- Increase Revenue & Customer Retention
- Improve Sales Productivity
- Expand into Emerging Markets
When you introduce your strategies to your strategic growth plan, know there is a “Goldilocks” number of paths to create. It’s ideal to have more than one to avoid putting all of your goal-achieving hopes into one method or basket. It’s equally ideal to avoid having too many strategies in the plan, resulting in a diluted effort to make significant progress toward those goals. While there is no magic number of strategies required in the Goal Pyramid, there is a “just right” estimate of three to five for the optimum balance of execution and results. Having three to five paths leading to your key company objectives will allow you to leverage the diversity of solutions needed without overextending your resources, time, and money.
Write out strategies that clarify your intent. Put these ideas in writing to help you visualize the path you envision. These tangible representations may include financial, customer, operational, and personnel perspectives. Make your strategy statements actionable, short, and easy to communicate. As a grammatical structure, the most basic strategy statement consists of an action paired with a descriptor to deliver an outcome. Strategy statements cite a program or plan of action that employs people, processes, and tools to get a result or achieve an objective. Strategies are not, however, a list of the detailed projects, activities, and tasks necessary. Those are part of the Execution layer.
As an example, a strategy might be to “increase client retention.” It states an intent that is a part of delivering a bigger goal, but it is not the executable step or detail of a project. Instead, it is an actionable intent that requires tactics and processes, perhaps in the form of multiple projects, to reach the desired outcome. Combined with other strategies like “add new clients,” “grow per-client revenues,” and “develop channel partnerships,” these strategy statements create the “big picture” and a direction for accomplishing a goal.
With your company vision laid out, you can now assign actions and resources needed to properly execute your plan.
Prioritize the Tactics and Processes to Execute Your Strategy
Once you have the goal and the path outlined, it’s time to start putting some verbs in your strategic growth plan’s language. This series of ideas usually involves action steps and projects intended to move your company down those strategic paths toward those SMART goals.
Execution is the practical application of knowledge, skills, and abilities to complete necessary activities and tasks. Using the Goal Pyramid framework, the Execution layer is directly under the Strategies layer.
It consists of both tactics (one-time events or activities) and processes (ongoing events or activities) that are part of a strategic objective, program, or project. Each strategy in the framework aligns with one or more tactics or processes that are specific to completing that strategy, which is aligned with delivering on the goal. The value of the framework at the Execution layer is ensuring activities and tasks are goal-focused and necessary to help achieve the goal.
Objectives, programs, and projects are defined in this Execution layer, with detailed milestones and deliverables toward completing a strategy. The focus of documenting the execution is on:
- Managing people
- Following processes
- Communicating progress, issues, and resolution
The more detail you can provide around execution delivery, the easier it will be to manage and measure outcomes. Be clear, with a common understanding of each tactic or process, so that there is no confusion or misunderstanding about the expectations and deliverables. Clarity helps stakeholders understand the importance of each activity, enabling sponsorship and resource allocation toward your execution plan. Detail also enables transparency for both stakeholders and team members and supports better governance, leadership, and management at the execution layer.
Each milestone and deliverable documented in the execution layer can be mapped to a timeline, assigned resources and budget, and measured toward completion. As a part of your strategic growth planning process, the execution layer creates buy-in at both the executive and sponsorship levels for tactical delivery. Execution also assigns responsibility at the team level matched to knowledge, skills, and abilities. It additionally serves as an easy-to-use tool at the leadership level for accountability, measurement, and progress. Regular communication cascaded up and down your reporting structure provides transparency, learning, and insights in real-time to reduce risks and improve successful outcomes.
Before you hit “play” on your business growth plan, you’ll need to take an assessment of your available and needed resources. Trying to execute a plan without adequate resources will only stall your efforts.
Determine the Resources Required to Effectively Execute Your Plan
Working down the Goal Pyramid, the next step involves evaluating and determining required resources. With your goals, strategies, and execution plans in place, now’s the time to organize the tools needed to put these plans into motion. Imagine again the strategic growth plan is your roadmap to success. If the goal is the destination on that map, the strategy is the road; the execution plan is the vehicle, then the execution resources would be the fuel.
Resources (at the most basic level) are the people and tools you will need to effectively execute tactics and processes.
Once you understand what you are trying to achieve, you can assess the support requirements for each activity or task. By documenting your resource needs, you understand where to invest to successfully execute your plan.
In the Goal Pyramid framework, the Resources layer is at the bottom. It only becomes a consideration after you have created a goal, developed one or more strategies to achieve your goal, and mapped an execution plan to deliver on each of your strategies. By knowing what you want and how to get there, you can accurately assess if you already have the resources you need to succeed, or if you need to acquire resources.
Key Questions to Assess Available Resources
- Do you have people on your team who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to successfully execute?
- Do those people have the bandwidth to become responsible for the execution?
- Do you have the right tools to complete the execution activities and tasks?
- Is it cost-effective to utilize internal resources for these activities and tasks?
Answering these kinds of questions helps you determine your resource needs. Following the Goal Pyramid framework to create your strategic plan builds a well-informed business case for making resource allocation and spending decisions.
Never Start at the Bottom of the Pyramid!
In a culture with short attention spans and an attraction toward what we don’t have, instead of what we do have, it’s important to keep resources as the last part of your strategic planning process. People often fool themselves into thinking they can shortcut their way to success, “if we only had that salesperson,” or “if we buy that piece of technology,” or “if we create this marketing asset.” The truth is that no matter how impressive or inspiring a resource may seem, if it does not directly align along the path to your ultimate goal, it is a distraction at best. It might even be a mistake, wasting time, money, and limited resources.
The Goal Pyramid framework was developed as a top-down approach to making sure your investments in people, processes, and tools are focused on achieving your goal. Starting with the “shiny metal objects” may help you get there, or simply may not. By starting at the top and working your way down through the framework, you are goal-focused and aligned at each stage of your strategic planning.
- Start with a SMART goal.
- Develop one or more strategies to achieve that SMART goal.
- Document the execution tactics and processes that deliver on your strategies.
- Source and utilize the resources needed to complete your execution plan.
As you reach the “Resources” layer of the pyramid, you may find HubSpot is one valuable tool to execute tactics for strategic growth.
Once you and your colleagues have agreed to every level of the Goal Pyramid, it’s time to put the strategic growth plan together in a physical representation. From inception until now, every discernable detail has been speculative and theoretical. Creating an actual guide will solidify the plan and allow you to share the roadmap with everyone responsible for contributing within your organization.
Prepare a Strategic Roadmap to Make Your Plan Actionable
Strategies guide your direction and define how you will reach your goals. Plans guide your execution and detail what you will do to deliver on your strategies. All too often, businesses spend time, money, and resources in strategic planning only to generate a document that gets shared, reviewed, praised, and then set aside. A strategic plan that is not acted upon is merely a wish list. Alternatively, a strategic plan that is effectively executed is invaluable in achieving goals. Create value in your strategic plan with commitment, investment, and engagement.
Commitment to the Plan Starts at the Top
Gain commitment to your strategic growth plan from your stakeholders and leaders to reinforce and reaffirm that the time and resources spent on executing the plan are valuable and appropriate to support the vision and direction of the organization. Their support and authority serve to strengthen the team’s confidence in their own work and contribution to organizational goals. Stakeholder commitment demonstrates trust and importance that motivate people and teams and help them to understand the “why.”
Successful execution of a strategic plan also requires an investment of time, money, and resources. The plan will typically contain milestones and deliverables that are outside of the day-to-day responsibilities of team members. They will need to make time to work on-the-business rather than in-the-business. With an investment in the right resources, accommodations, and rewards, leadership can demonstrate their dedication to achieving goals and working toward an organizational vision.
Create a Visual Representation of Your Plan with Clear Timelines and Responsibilities
Map out activities and tasks from your strategic growth plan as relatable directives to engage people and teams more effectively. By creating a map and itemizing a timeline, you can help everyone visualize the dependencies, timeframes, and workloads of the plan.
Mapping allows you to:
- Prioritize activities, milestones, and deliverables
- Align roles and responsibilities with those who are ready, willing, and able
- Implement detailed action plans to serve as a guide to successful execution
Prioritizing the activities of your execution plan sets clear expectations for delivery, allows for focus on high value, urgent tasks, and activities, and identifies dependencies of activities to complete before others can be executed. A simple “A, B, or C” prioritization provides clarity on the sequence of completing your execution tactics and processes. When determining the prioritization level, consider the benefits and consequences of the timing and prioritization for each activity, as well as resource availability and constraints. Prioritization helps you strategically consider the order of engagement that maximizes time and resources, rather than operating under the “biggest fire first” or “first in – first out” approaches that may not yield optimal benefit and productivity.
Assigning and Defining Roles and Responsibilities
After prioritizing your strategic execution plan, map individuals to roles and responsibilities for each activity. A contributing member has a role in completing the activity. A responsible individual may not be doing the work but has a commitment to make sure it is delivered successfully, on time, and on budget. Like prioritization, mapping roles and responsibilities provides clear expectations and allows team members to manage their workload to support the successful completion of the activity. It also prevents any single person from being overloaded with too many roles or too much responsibility that may put the execution at risk. Accountability to roles and responsibilities also creates a culture of ownership.
With prioritization and ownership set, prepare your detailed action plan by plotting tasks, activities, milestones, and deliverables for tactics and processes on a timeline. You may use a Gantt chart, project management software, or strategy execution management software for this purpose. Include required resources, budgets, and costs, as well as KPIs and reporting metrics to measure success.
As you and your teams take the first steps to execute your strategic growth plan, it’s important to recognize that your strategy supervision and development steps aren’t over. Your strategy may need to adapt, change, and require additional support or training along the way. And here are suggestions to ensure you continue to implement and follow through on your established strategy.
Manage Your Progress with Accountability and Support
Having a strategic roadmap provides clarity and direction toward achieving goals. With the completion of the necessary evaluation and planning for success, the only thing left is to just do it. While the strategic plan may be complete, managing the work and progress of executing on a strategic plan is often where organizations fail. Strategy execution consistently ranks as one of the top challenges in most organizations.
Strategy execution is the coalescence of decisions, actions, outcomes, and communications to advance measured progress toward a stated goal. To effectively execute your strategy, consider this four-step process:
- Set the execution structure
- Manage and mentor teams and people
- Evaluate progress and outcomes
- Communicate and cascade information
This approach has two benefits. First, you actually complete the execution tactics and processes that deliver on the strategies to achieve goals in our Goal Pyramid framework. Second, the process becomes a cycle for continuous improvement, delivering even more value the longer you stick with it.
Supporting Your Team Through the Strategic Execution Process
Setting the execution structure begins by determining who is involved and the responsibilities for each person. Although this should be clarified by the “roles and responsibilities” in your strategic roadmap, it is important to determine and clarify who has decision rights and how far those decision rights extend. Decision rights shift responsibility from executives to team members to align and assign execution tactics and processes. Accountability for successful execution is also shared with the people doing the work, creating an opportunity for leadership training and experience. Setting the execution structure establishes boundaries that enable and empower team members to contribute to the best of their abilities.
Managing and mentoring teams and people provide guidance for what to do and how to do it. Articulate, acknowledge, and address the ideas, concerns, issues, and risks that team members raise. Effective managers know that truly listening and considering input from others helps create confidence and commitment. Provide expertise, training, and mentoring as needed.
Be ready and able to offer the support to up-level the knowledge, skills, and abilities of your team members when they ask. However, be careful not to jump in and take over. Avoid micromanaging the project and the people so you don’t discourage or even alienate your team members. Leadership is about enabling people to succeed by reaching or exceeding expectations and growing in their potential.
Measuring, Reinforcing, and Optimizing for Success
Evaluate progress and outcomes at regular intervals to keep your strategy execution on track. Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) for quantitatively measuring progress toward completion. Measuring a limited number of important KPIs is better than a larger number of tactical KPIs. Make sure you only measure what you will actually use to improve performance toward completing your goal. Measuring too many data points can create an overburdened or even an overly controlling climate that could generate a negative reaction.
- Reward progress and achievement with small successes as well as big ones. Rewards can be as simple as an encouraging comment, a sincere compliment, or even a brag to coworkers or other leaders. Everyone appreciates recognition for their efforts and accomplishments.
- Communicate and cascade information up, down, and across your organizational structure. Clarify the “what,” the “how,” and the “why” of the strategic plan so everyone on the team can better understand and connect their actions and outcomes to the strategies and goals.
- Report progress toward completion with a regular cadence of daily, weekly, or another consistent interval that is appropriate to convey momentum. Frequent progress reports create room for timely review, analysis, and adjustment if necessary.
- Establish an information flow between team members, leaders, and stakeholders to highlight the progress, learning, and insights gained from the execution of your strategic plan. The shared information is valuable for optimizing the action plan, the execution, strategies, and goals across the organization.
Create a Strategic Roadmap for Goal-Focused Execution and More Targeted Outcomes
Strategic planning is about current state evaluation, critical thinking, goal setting, structural organization, team engagement, and timeline accomplishments.
To achieve success with a strategic roadmap that works for your business:
- Start with a framework, stakeholders, and facilitation
- Create a foundation based on a current state analysis
- Set goals the SMART way
- Develop strategies to reach your goals
- Prioritize the tactics and processes to execute your strategy
- Determine the resources you need to effectively execute your plan
- Prepare a strategic roadmap to make your plan actionable
- Manage your progress with accountability and support
Planning and executing a growth strategy involves change management, strategic transformation, and accountability for the vision, goals, and culture of an organization. The people and teams that plan, execute and optimize the strategy are accountable for the behaviors and outcomes that create value for customers, team members, and themselves. To turn a familiar phrase on its head, “Investing in strategic planning, done well, is an investment in your own success.”