If your planning process is not driving speed, flexibility and iteration - which are MUSTS in today business environment - it may be time for an upgrade
Being "agile" seems to be the buzz word in many companies and mainstream media. It primarily gained attention as a method for better software development. However packaged its principles rest on the PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT basics which should also apply to your strategic planning process.
In the age of industry disrupters, unforeseen competition and emerging business models you may want to reset the method your team uses to set its strategy and gain the benefits of agile. An agile strategy process (vs a once a year retreat) will enable you to gain the five benefits below:
1. Quicker Feedback Cycle
Every strategy attempts to predict the future and make decisions on product and market choices – we know we can never get it 100% right. The best strategies and execution plans requires ongoing feedback with key quarterly check points.
– an agile strategy process will deliver faster feedback
2. Change Is Inevitable
Rather than “hoping the strategy is right” and only "finding data" that justifies it – a strategy process that invites challenge, contradiction and root cause recognizes the need to make adjustments as performance gaps or new external information emerges-
-an agile strategy process consistently challenges your assumptions and understands every decision your team makes will not be correct
3. Early Identification of Variances
Rather than waiting annually for the retreat to get executives re-connecting on strategy your planning method should be teeing up positive and negative variances at least on a quarterly basis( or as they emerge)and ensure you’re getting down to root cause. Despite the schedule we like to make your industry challenges don't follow your yearly retreat timing.
-an agile strategy process requires you to find cause and take action as new issues unfold
4. Adaptable Prioritization
Priorities change. An agile strategy process allows reprioritization of initiatives and implementation plans as new information emerges. This does not mean “ changing strategy ” every month but recognizes as new data unfolds – both external and internal - the TOP projects selected in January many not be the same ones once July performance numbers roll around
an agile strategy process will have clear criteria that drives and re-evaluate priorities
5. Higher Probability of Achieving Goals
A agile strategy process raises the batting average of achieving goals.
By having a plan, do, check, adjust mentality – the focus is about outcomes and not just a buttoned up PowerPoint document. Your team recognizes and is focused on ensuring goals are achieved and visible rather than getting lost in the day-to-day operations.
-an agile strategy process will help build agile strategic thinking into your team .
The five benefits I discussed of using an agile strategy process may help you and your team consider updating your strategy process or getting a new one.
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