The five questions to test the quality of your strategic plan

It is around this time of the year leaders go for a strategic planning retreat. Here are five questions to answer during the planning

It is around this time of the year leaders go for a strategic planning retreat. Here are five questions to answer during the planning retreat.

Question 1
What is the strategy in your strategic document? Carefully review your old strategy to see if your strategy has been defined simply. If an independent party reads through your strategic plan document, would they be able to understand your ‘strategy’?

Many organizations have a document called the Strategic Plan. However, if you removed their name from the cover of the document, and control changed the same throughout the document, it could easily become a strategy for another company! That is what an artificial strategic plan document is all about. A research paper, with a name strategic plan. It is common to find lots of analysis using many models– SWOT, PESTLED, etc but without clear articulation on how these links to the business.

You cannot win with an artificial strategy. You need an organic strategy.

And remember, the balanced card is good for strategy performance measurement and monitoring. But it is not a tool for making choices. So, using the balanced scorecard may give you a 360 degrees view of your business, with defined measurement areas in financial, learning and growth, internal business process innovation, and customer or stakeholder focus – but such is not a strategy. Many strategy consultant tend to confuse this. The result is a list of targets in a scorecard without clear strategic choices on how to use the scarce resources to win.

Always remember strategy = choice. A strategy is about winning. Having defined scorecard outcomes in critical business areas is NOT a strategy. It is a performance measurement that provides a basis for target monitoring and accountability management.

Question 2:
What is your business model defined in your strategic plan?

Your strategy is not complete without a clear articulation of your business model – how do you plan to make money, and sustain it? How do you plan to scale and win? What is your product/ service strategy? Whether a for-profit entity or not for profit, you must define where revenue will come from sustainably.

Remember, a strategy is more about the growth of the top line. Resource mobilization. Customer segments, products, and service offerings and pricing. That is why sales and marketing are a key component of your strategic agenda.

If your strategy is quiet about growing the revenue – where will growth come from, then you have not yet done strategy. If you are a financial institution, what is your business model? How do you plan to generate revenue, grow the customer base, and win?

Balanced scorecard targets are NOT a strategy. I repeat. A balanced scorecard strategy is not a strategy.

To be continued.

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Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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