C-Level Insights | Driving Value, Part 2

Safeguard Your Strategy: Top Tactics to Keep Your Strategic Plan on Track

Strategic planning is top of mind for astute leaders. Today we’re going to share some unexpected pitfalls and essential tactics for keeping your strategy on track.

The Myth of the Maverick CEO
The image persists — a solitary individual with infinite vision, comprehensive marketplace knowledge, and ruthlessly shrewd business instincts single-handedly leading his or her organization to success. That’s not reality … and can be a destructive myth.  In today’s environment of lightning-fast change and data overload, a CEO must look to their team for the advice, insight and analysis that will drive their strategic planning. It is critical that the CEO create an environment in which all key players can voice their views, expertise and understanding of the market landscape.

The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.   — Thomas Jefferson, American founding father and third US president

Communication Is Key To Build Momentum
Once a strategy is in place, it is imperative that the plan is communicated and bought into by everyone in the organization. Without company-wide alignment and a shared vision of success, different parts of the organization will inevitably strike off on their own, the plan will lose definition and strategic momentum will come to a standstill. However, when a strategy is effectively communicated to all corners of the company, the result is an operational and philosophical alignment that leads to smooth sailing and shared success.

Stick to Your Guns … Prepare for Push Back
If your strategy includes the kind of organizational or operational change that rattles a few cages, be prepared for push back. Remember, changing course, even by a few degrees, is never easy. It is your job to commit to your strategic roadmap, have the discipline to avoid distractions and stay on target.  Lastly, take a long, hard look at your strategic planning—past, present and future. Did your organization stick to its plan or deter from it? Did you under or over perform? What went right? What went wrong? Answer these questions accurately, put a plan into place, communicate it effectively, and stick to your guns, and you’ll be on the right path for 2012.

Get Smart with War Games
A smart strategic plan must adapt to a shifting marketplace. Redstones has found that the best way to prepare for change … is to go to war. Setting up ‘war games’ with internal groups to analyze the market and imagine real-life scenarios of opportunity and risk is a surprisingly fun way to strengthen your strategy and foster communication.

I believe that you have to understand the economics of a business before you have a strategy, and you have to understand your strategy before you have a structure. If you get these in the wrong order, you will probably fail.   — Michael Dell, Founder and CEO of Dell, Inc.

By Jody A. Ruth, CEO, Redstones LLC