Our environment is changing constantly. Traditional strategic planning is no longer effective in this context, because we are constantly having to adapt, reinvent, and even transform ourselves. In business transformation, you need to have a vision, and to be prepared to discover how to reach it iteratively, staying focused on goals rather than plans.
In many organizations, traditional strategic planning is still very much alive, but is never followed through. Because of changing projects, budgets and priorities, the goals, even when well defined, are never achieved. I’ve seen strategic plans constructed by vice presidents who failed to take into account the interlinkages needed to deliver on them. I’ve seen strategic plans that went in multiple directions without clear goals, and ended up with over 400 indicators to track. I’ve seen strategic plans that did not take into account the organization's ability to implement them or integrate them. In short, traditional strategic planning has become too static to deliver a true strategy for the future.
A study by Bain & Company showed that only 33% of executives believe their strategic planning delivers an ambitious strategy that is sufficiently clear, can adapt to constant change and provides good guidance for managers.
Is a five-year, three-year, or even a one-year plan still realistic? I honestly believe that transformation is much more than a plan. To generate the expected value and achieve its goals, an organization must manage transformation very differently from how it manages projects. If your strategic planning comes down to a three- or a five-year plan with a series of projects, your chances of bringing about successful transformation are slim.
There are a number of keys to a successful transformation. Rather than annual planning, you should be focusing on a transformation roadmap that stays flexible, providing a framework for managing uncertainty and realigning your strategy iteratively on a regular basis. The key factors in the success of your roadmap include:
Each of these key factors is sufficiently important to deserve its own blog article. Follow us to learn more about them.