Strategy planning is often vaguely defined and even more vaguely followed. In these short videos, Kut Akdogan, Partner at Gaussian Holdings, gives an overview of the 6 steps for strategy planning that organizations must follow, implicitly or explicitly.
- Define outcomes
- Research & diagnose
- Ideate opportunities
- Prioritize opportunities
- Vet & approve
Step 1: Define outcomes
It's surprising how often strategy planning processes don't define the required outcomes, despite the fact that strategy is little more than finding the optimal path to get to outcomes.
In this video, we give an overview of the first step in successful Strategy Planning: defining outcomes. These outcomes are why we do "strategy" in the first place. Outcomes must match the needs of shareholders, owners and/or the board, and must adhere not to a strict timeline, but a rough time horizon.
Step 2: Research and diagnose
Decisions must be driven by information, experiences, data - covering as wide a range of inputs as possible. Collection of this is called "research".
In this video, we give an overview of the second step in successful Strategy Planning: research and diagnosis. This research must cover opportunities and challenges both internal and external to the organization. A simplistic example is a "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats" analysis - aka SWOT.
Step 3: Ideate opportunities
A key anti-pattern many executives encounter is the combination of ideation and prioritization - coming up with an idea and immediately giving it strategic priority and importance. This is often sub-optimal for any size of business.
In this video, we give an overview of the third step in successful Strategy Planning: ideating strategic opportunities. Ideation must be separated from prioritization or selection of opportunities. The ideation step is creative and unrestrained - the purpose is to cast the net wide and uncover potential ways to achieve the Outcomes.
Step 4: Prioritize opportunities
The value of prioritization is not in the classifying of initiatives as important. Nor is it simply about deprioritizing work that is trivially unimportant. The true pain of prioritization comes from deprioritizing initiatives that are important, but not important enough.
In this video, we give an overview of the fourth step in successful Strategy Planning: prioritizing ideas for strategic opportunities. Each idea should be scored, for instance by Impact versus Feasibility, to give a sense of which ideas are the highest return-on-investment.
Step 5: Vet and approve
Buy-in and communication are key ingredients to successful strategic planning.
In this video, we give an overview of the fifth step in successful Strategy Planning: vetting and approving the prioritized strategy. Buy-in is critical for an effective strategic plan. A Strategic Statement can help provide a succinct soundbite for getting buy-in and approval.
Step 6: Execute
Often, strategy plans are intellectual exercises that consume precious time and are often ignored or outdated by the time they need to be used.
In this video, we give an overview of the final step in successful Strategy Planning: accountable execution.