Reassessment of business strategy is a necessary annual exercise. This is where you take everything that has happened over the past year, break it down, and analyze it. Find out what went right, what went wrong, and what you could be doing better.
These strategy sessions are typically done in a retreat type scenario, but you can do it any way you can afford to. Larger companies send their executives to vacation destinations so they can relax, distraction free in hopes to get the creative juices flowing. While the better option is to get all the members away from the business and the distractions, you will have to do what works best for you and your budget. At the very least, try to make the meeting as distraction free as possible.
The members of this strategy session should be made up of valuable team members at each level of the business. The personnel at the bottom have very different perspectives than the personnel at the top and every perspective should be valued. This also serves to give everyone a voice in the success of the company as a whole. If tough cutbacks are the topic of the discussion, then it’s easier to come up with a solution that gets integrated horizontally, rather than vertically. (Fellow employees helping in deciding the course of action and parlaying the information to the rest vs. the top down approach which can leave employees feeling less valued.) Don’t forget to include a moderator that will help to keep the group on task.
One of the best ways, I’ve heard about to come up with a great strategic plan is to “break the business.” This is done by running through simulations on what would make it fail, then address those weak walls and establish risk mitigation plans. Then perform a SWOT Analysis on the business as a whole and then every product or service you offer. In a SWOT Analysis, you are assessing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. After you have filled out all of the categories, line up the strengths with the opportunities and the weaknesses with the threats. This will help to show you what you are doing well and what needs some work as well as where you have opportunity for growth and where you have potential risks.
Sometimes the root of the problem isn’t always at the surface and you need to drill down to find
what is really causing the issue. Do this by asking “Why” about 5 times. This will usually get you to the root of it. Once you know what the real problem is, then you can take steps to fix it for good.
Now that you have a sizeable list to work from assess each item and put a priority to it. Establish a ranking system and analyze what needs to be taken care of and by when. I will usually establish two groupings that rank the list by priority and then by cost. Then I will cross analyze this list to come up with a preferable order. Additionally, I like to pick out the low cost, but high impact items and be sure to address them quickly.
Hopefully this posting has helped you to understand more about strategic planning and why it’s important. Get working on your strategic plan today and remember to “Stop Doing the Mundane, and Start Getting Weird!”