Strategy….it is what allows you to create focus and direction for your business. In its simplest form, strategy is answering 3 questions: (1) Where are we? (2) Where do we want to be? (3) How are we going to there? Sounds simple, but strategy can be complex in practice. In fact, 80% of strategies fail due to poor execution. If the strategy is too high level or complicated, it will be too difficult to bring to life within an organisation.
So, what’s the difference between a strategy and a plan? A strategy is a process that helps you create focus and direction for your business. It is not just a document or set of documents that sit on your shelf; it is something you use every day to make decisions and drive results. A plan is a set of tasks that you follow to achieve your goals.
A strategy is also about choice. It’s a critical part of the process to make decisions on what you will do and just importantly what you will not do. Focus on your choices is the only way you can successfully deploy limited time, resources and investment to achieve results.
Simple, quick, and effective strategy development in practice.
We worked with a 5-site aged care provider to facilitate a refresh of their strategy with their Executive team and Board using our strategic planning process.
Here’s the process we followed:
Step 1 – Preparation for a workshop and the position paper
A strategic planning process involves defining (1) where you are starting from, (2) where you are going and then (3) how you are going to get there. We produced a Position Paper in the weeks leading up to our client session that provided a summary of the operating environment, and the strengths and weakness internally and externally. This saved us time on the day by not having to take too much time to reach a shared understanding of our starting point.
Step 2 – The workshop process
On the day of the workshop, we started by discussing the position paper. Then we discussed goals and tried to align ourselves on what we were really aiming for. We then had time to run a small innovation session looking at ideas to expand Home and Community Care.
Finally, we rounded out the all-day session with a discussion on the key strategic themes that we needed to focus on in the next 2 years. The day was full of great discussion and the team was incredibly well aligned throughout the session but especially at the end.
Step 3 – Synthesis of strategy and planning
We synthesise all the notes from the day and turn it into a succinct strategy document that can be used to communicate to other stakeholders and build plans. A good strategy is a road map and a communication tool, but it will not be enough detail to implement. An operating plan needs to be created to translate the strategy into action.
This is where the “rubber hits the road”. The process for creating the operating plan should start with some analysis of all the current activities that are underway. These have already been prioritised for action so mapping them back to the strategy creates alignment and immediate momentum because some initiatives are already moving. Anything misaligned should be questioned and possibly stopped.
Step 4 – Implementation and regular review of the strategy
Lastly, the operating plan will be created, accountabilities assigned, and any investment or resources also allocated and budgeted for. Accountabilities will be assigned at a senior level which allows that senior team to gather at least quarterly to review progress on the plan. In most cases, the initiatives will have progressed if they are important and especially if they were already underway. Any items not progressing can be questioned and obstacles removed or in some cases where the situation has changed, items may need to be reprioritised.
These steps will help any business to implement a good quality strategic process in the business.
If you are thinking of refreshing your strategy, now is a great time to do it.
There is a great deal of change and opportunity facing every business and clear choices, plans and communication is a key to success.
If you need help, contact Mirus and we can explain the process in more detail.