According to a recent article in Forbes, only 3% of strategic plans succeed.* 

In my experience, strategic plans fail because the planning process is flawed. 

The traditional top-down sequential process of vision-mission-objectives worked when the industry landscape changed at a glacial speed 30 years ago. Now the competitive environment changes almost daily. So by the time the lower levels of the organization reached alignment on the objectives, the playing field has changed. 

So why do companies still use this approach?
  • First, because it sounds so logically correct it passes the sniff test
  • Second, because CXO salaries imply they have all the answers
In response, CXO’s have learned to define the vision, mission, and objectives at such a high level they can’t be argued against. But strategic execution suffers from the lack of specific guidance.

What’s needed is changing the strategy process from being sequential to becoming parallel.  Strategy formulation needs to be happening simultaneously at multiple levels and at different speeds.  Manufacturing should look out over a longer planning horizon.  Marketing should focus on the near term and become more event driven.

The question now becomes how to orchestrate this parallel process? The answer is using short interviews and simple analytics to build a rich picture. One that can be shared across different levels of the organization, that captures and integrates these multiple perspectives. 

This rich picture also helps identify the full range of strategic options along with their strategic risks to better inform management decision making.  CXO’s shouldn’t be shouldering the full burden of strategy formulation!

If you are serious about taking strategy formulation to the next level in your organization leave me a message at (678) 429-9909 to arrange a demo.