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10 Winning Combinations to Help You S.E.T. and Achieve Your Business Goals (lessons learned)


Maze Puzzle (Blender) by FutUndBeidl

Recently, I did a presentation called S.E.T. for Success, a winning combination to help you SET and achieve your business goals for a group of executives. The presentation was a training and
facilitation overview of a planning approach, a model with key business impact zones and the fundamentals of creating an implementation road map that they could use to implement key strategic business initiatives.

There were a number of important messages in our short two hour time together that I believe are fundamental to growth and future business success. Based on our discussion I believe they would feel the same way.

Here are ten highlights and lessons learned from this session.

  1. Be clear on the definition of strategic planning and make sure your team knows what it means too. Strategic planning is the envisioning of desired future and translating them into strategic agenda items. It is important to work backwards to the current status and solve business problems and opportunities from a larger scope of focus.
  2. Use an approach that makes sense to everyone. In this case I presented the S.E.T. Approach and guided these leaders through using a structure to understand the business, the importance of people engagement to make decisions and agreement and then the development of transformational plans to create change.
  3. Apply an adaptable model (SET-Ability Model) that allows you to consider all the key business drivers and impacts zones. Consider the ripple effects created from the decisions made and actions taken (positive and negative).  Ultimately you want to ensure that you create alignment and set the parameters for which your business will be successful.
  4. Answer the initial key questions for your future with a time frame in mind, figure out what you need to do to make that happen and understand the business benefit and value by asking important what and why questions. Click Here for the 7 Strategic Questions You Should Ask About Your Business
  5. Clarify your vision of business success through creating brainstorming opportunities with your business leadership team. Think of the future and all that you achieve and write it down. Summarize it and get it into a 500 word article that could appear in Success Business magazine. Get a headline that everyone understands. Be clear.
  6. Organizational structure is everything. The right structure in place helps with creating the future state of your business. For smaller and mid range businesses this often means two very important shifts. First, the business leader must let go. Create reporting, decision making, communication and accountability lines to free them from being the single point of contact for everything. Second, you need to put the organizational structure for tomorrow in place today. Creating a future organizational structure today has many ramifications. But if you want to grow you need to let go.
  7. Picking your strategic planning tools is important. Since we were doing a short presentation we focused on the standard analysis tools, vision for future business success and situational analysis with a SWOT. I presented some alternatives that would allow the business leaders to take a deep dive into other parts of their business. When it comes to planning there are many approaches and tools and techniques that a team can use to determine their focus. One size does not fit all. You need to answer the question what 3 to 5 things are on the strategic agenda of the organization in the next 5 to 10 years that will make a difference in our business? Why? Hopefully the tools you use and your approach will help you.
  8. Cluster, categorize and define. This is the decision making process for the business leaders team. A lot of items come out of strategic brainstorming when looking at the future and present state. Often people use different words to describe the same time. Through open discussion with your team cluster like items together, categorize them into key business impact zones (see S.E.T. for Success: a roadmap to transform your business for impact zones) and clearly define them through the creation of well articulated business statements.
  9. There’s a business reality and lots of decisions to make. The first business reality is that every business has the same three constraints; money, time and resources. These are often influenced by the external and internal business environment and the decision made. The second reality, every business wants to decrease costs, improve productivity, increase sales and enhance the bottom-line. These don’t always go hand-in-hand. For example you could increase sales and end up decreasing productivity (due to more work and poor processes) thereby increasing costs. This is an area that needs to be well thought out.
  10. Business Strategy Map and a Roadmap help you make decisions. The strategy map should be one or two pages and shows you clearly what is on the strategic agenda of the organization and what will be focused on over the course of your plan time period requirements. The Roadmap is the translation of the strategy map into clear strategic initiatives or programs and the buckets of works or projects that need to be done to ensure you achieve your strategic objectives. This information should be used at all your leadership meetings and all levels. But that means having a clear communication plan. That’s another topic.

It is amazing how much ground you can cover in two hours. But when it comes to planning, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Personally and professionally I am always interested in what is underneath. In future, a ‘Deep Dive’ would be in order to create the business artifacts discussed in this blog. To do so would mean the use of a tool-kit to look at “your” business from a number of different angles and perspectives. Maybe that will be my next weeks blog. The tool kit of strategic planning.

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Richard Lannon
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