The gap between strategy and outcome is often too great, isn’t it?
When we speak of the strategic planning process we include implementation and execution, don’t we?
If not then we are creating the first opportunity for the dreaded gap.
However, we don’t need everyone involved in strategy to be involved in execution. We just need the right people for each phase. Ideally though, it needs to be weighted towards being inclusive, or we create the second opportunity for the gap.
Let’s start with the process we recommend, shown here:
Getting the distinctions between the parts is also crucial.
- Planning is an activity that occurs in all parts of the process and is most crucial in agreeing the strategies and the execution and ensuring they are aligned.
- Values – the spiritual, thinking, behavioural rules that must not be compromised. Without clarity here we will create a values gap that leads directly to an outcomes gap.
- Vision – clarity about what we are striving towards – our compass.
- Goals – the near future outcomes that align with our values and vision.
- Strategy – the big picture milestones we need to take to achieve the goals.
- Implementation – the communication and accountability activity to ensure execution and strategy align.
- Execution – the operational or tactical activity used to achieve the goals.
- Monitoring and Reviewing – essential measurement and reviewing to enable adjustment, adaptation, correction and innovation.
Who Should Be Present?
Ideally the leaders of each phase should be included in all the planning. To have a senior leader group decide on a strategy that an execution leader would later find impossible due to a resources or expertise gap that had been assumed either present or not needed by the strategists, is an all too common occurrence.
In contrast, provided the implementation plan is thorough, the need for senior leaders to be present at execution planning is diminished.
Who should be present at the planning of each phase can be based upon these criteria:
- How do we ensure consistency of clarity?
- How do we best replace assumption with direct knowledge?
- How do we enhance the aligned flow of intention and action?
The Conduct of Planning
Regardless of what phase is being planned, planning needs to be facilitated by an expert planning facilitator who does not contribute content but ensures full engagement, adherence to process and clarity of decisions.
The participants can then fully focus on their input.
Too many strategic planning processes don’t include the necessary phases and don’t include the ideal people. They are the biggest reasons for the gap between strategy and execution.
What’s your take on this?