Strategic Growth Advisory Practice Leader Tom Leahey was featured in American Management Association’s Playbook this month, “Creating a Strategic Plan That Considers Capital Elements.”
In our hypercompetitive world, where long-standing competitive advantages can be wiped out in a matter of months by plucky, well-funded upstarts, corporate strategy is no longer optional. Professional capital is finding companies at embryonic stages of development, and we all know that capital radically changes a marketplace and the behavior of its participants.
Why should we care about strategy when dealing with the here and now can prove daunting? A well-formed strategic plan should result in enhanced competitive resolve by tapping into new and exciting opportunities that help a company stand the test of time, such as finding new markets, defending hard-won territories, extending one’s brand, bolting on an acquisition, or reenergizing the balance sheet.
First things first in strategic planning
Developing an effective strategy is not an exclusive exercise. The first step in any planning process is to gather input from all corners of an enterprise. The team must have these elements:
It must be cross-functional. This is nonnegotiable. HR is as important as IT and finance.
It should be nimble and given authority to cut across lines and time-honored traditions.
It should have balance, being inclusive of levels, locations, lines of work, and so forth.
It should operate below the C-suite. Input can break down when the CEO or CFO shows up.
It should present to the C-suite at regular intervals. Refine and calibrate.
It must be small enough to facilitate ideation but large enough to get to all parts of the company.